Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Trees

We put up our family tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. Quite the family event; Susie, Michael, Chrissy, hubby-Jeremy, Addie and Daisy the cat supervising. Brings back 50+ years of tree memories.

As a child Santa put the tree up Christmas Eve. Mom, Grandma and I would go the candle light service and my dad put the tree up. I honestly have only a couple of Christmas memories of him as well as the year he died, Dec 17, 1957. I can look to my left as I type this and see his last present to me sitting on our china cabinet. A metal globe that was to be some kind of game. I never played it, but I seem to have a real need keep it around. It’s a little late in life for me to run that by a shrink – just one of my many quirks I guess.

Anyway, my mom always bought pine trees, put them up Christmas Eve and took them down right after Easter. Yes, I said Easter. By that time you could run your finger along a branch and the needles would cascade to the ground.

After I started dating Susie, their family used firs. Long, soft needles. It was a nice change and her family always included my mom as well.

The next weird little tree was the little 2-footer that mom and Susie sent to me when I went overseas. Nothing odder that a little decorated tree on a table that I leaned my M-16 up against.

For years, after we were married, we continued to buy real Christmas trees. Usually firs, with their needles getting into everything imaginable. Finally, we decided to go “artificial”, “fake”, “un-alive” (Susie’s contribution). We quickly settled into specific tasks. Susie sets it up, puts the branches in and does the “fluffing”. Her purpose, to make it look real – she does a great job. Then, I do the lights. Testing, fixing, swearing and finally stringing. Next, Susie and the kids (now grandkids) decorate it while I document the process with camera and video. And, finally, Daisy examines, reviews and tests her proper place under the tree in her own private one-tree forest.


Decorations have grown. We have an eclectic mix of home made, school made, family made, purchased, gifted, found ornaments that is strangely comforting. I can see my daughters kindergarten career, her ballet years, our exchange kids (all 13 of them), aunts, my son’s school career, my child hood, Susie’s childhood and now the beginning of grand kids. The tree is our life, our history. There are decorations that bring to mind gut wrenching Christmases that I did not know if I would survive. Christmases simply filled with peace. And Christmases filled with laughter, song and fun. Our entire life together as the Keller family. Amazing.DSC_0008

I pray all have the opportunity to build this type of tradition. Life is filled with memories - when better to review our lives than at the birth of our Lord. I pray your tree is filled with a deep, loving and rich history.

OK, what Grandpa can resist posting a photo like this!!

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