Our Christmas tree is up. It is not as tall as it looked in the lot. And one side of it is a little sparse in the branch department. That side is shoved in the corner. It is a balsam with a really bad haircut. We live in the Land of Trees, for heaven’s sake. There are lovely, naturally shaped balsams growing like weeds all over the Chippewa National Forest. All one needs to do is buy a permit, drive to the forest, and cut down a tree. Bam. At least, that is how it should go if one does not want a tree that has been sheared to within an inch of its life. If one prefers a tree with, say, actual branches.
It is the end of the semester, and if I didn’t have to do All The Other Things, that is the kind of tree that would be in our family room right now. Instead, we are making do with the one we have. I will say that it looks better now that it is decorated. Lights help. So does lowering one’s Christmas tree expectations. I’m working on this.
Anyway, the construction paper ornaments my kids made years ago are still my favorites. I hang them first every year. And when I do, I remember the brave warriors who taught both of my children. This is mainly due to glitter. As far as I’m concerned, elementary school teachers don’t get nearly the credit they deserve for things like welcoming glitter into their classrooms. And then (here’s the most amazing part) they also allow glue. Elementary school teachers are some of the bravest people I know. I can’t begin to calculate the staggering amount of glitter the average elementary school teacher sweeps up every December. Not having to sweep up glitter is one of the main reasons I teach college. I do not have the nerves required for such things as glitter and glue and the children of other people. I just don’t. So God Bless elementary school teachers. Can I get an Amen?
But back to our tree. This year, a little girl’s traced hand print reindeer hangs near her college graduation tassle and a small boy’s glitter-bombed something hangs on the branch next to his. Sweet, cherished mementos of who they were then, and who they grew up to be.
All hung with love, on my perfectly imperfect tree.