I remember as a kid, in the chaos of our household, trying to convince my mom to decorate our tree like I had seen in the department stores. Monochromatic, shiny, and impersonal. Nothing homemade, nothing funky, nothing old. For some reason, the orderliness of those trees appealed to me. Of course, Mom resisted, and our tree which we all trekked out to cut down and which Dad flocked white every year, never looked like the department store and was always packed with more tradition, laughter and memories than any 'professionally' decorated tree could aspire to.
Mom is gone now, and so the chaotic tree of my youth is just a memory. A cherished one. As I hang the new, old and homemade ornaments on our tree, I wonder how the impersonal department store tree ever caught my eye. Without the baby's first christmas, the artwork from school and the collectible keepsakes that we have acquired over the years, the tree would not have heart or meaning. Each ornament is a timecapsule, with a memory attached, a moment shared. They help keep the tradition alive, and our loved ones close to our hearts. In the uncertain times we are facing in the world today, having an old-school Christmas tree, complete with memories, keeps things in perspective. Christmas is not about shopping or having the latest electronic gadgets. It's the birth of Christ, Family, Friendships, Love. That's it. It's simple. That's all we need.