Feed on

Oh Tanenbaum!

Now here’s a picture I would not have recognized a year ago: Cambria sitting under the Christmas tree. Or, to be more accurate, my Christmas tree.

Those last three words make me need to lie down for a few minutes. Matt and I have never had a tree before: I, because I am Jewish, and Matt, because he doesn’t care about holiday decorations. And thus, from 1992 to 2009, our living room has been bereft of tree as I maintained my family tradition and he took a pass on his.

Then Simon came along. We expected things to change, but they did not. The first year we were too tired, the second year we were still too tired and also worried about the cats, and by the third and fourth Christmas we didn’t even discuss it. We just weren’t a “tree family”.

There was every reason to expect Christmas 2010 to be more of the same. Except this year Simon has a mind of his own and the ability to express his thoughts very well. And his opinion was clear: He is a tree guy. His campaign began with simple admiration. He’d see someone else’s tree and declare, “Oh, there’s a tree! It’s so pretty!”

When that didn’t bring about the desired result, he dropped the subtlety.

“Mommy, look at that tree! And that one! Look at all the beautiful trees. Mommy! Mommy! There’s one with rainbow lights. Can we take it home with us?”

And that was the exact moment I knew that the status quo was about to change. Simon has Christmas fever. He is animated and delighted over the lights, the cookies, and anything with a bell. So clearly is he in the thrall of the gustatory and visual delights of Yuletide, that I ended up advocating for the tree. So once Matt got past a crazy cluster of concerts, band practices, basketball games, and insane work nights—ending rather climactically with a night shift that didn’t wrap until 3:00 a.m. on his last ever night at the old job—he took Simon to the waterfront to pick out a fir tree and then on to Target to get “rainbow lights.”

We had some ornaments from Jim and Evie and from that first Christmas with Simon when I thought we might get a tree. There’s a tree skirt on the way, and in the meantime I’ve appropriated an old tablecloth. Rather hysterically, I’m the one who figured out how to get the lights on the tree. (Matt and I joked that the blind was leading the Jew.) I put a giant red bow at the top. Cambria has decided that this is a fine, fine place to rest and look pretty.

And I have discovered that after years of fretting, having a tree is not as emotionally fraught as I expected it to be. It’s pretty and cheery, it smells divine, and Simon is delighted with it. He may be calling my bluff, too, because last night when I told him it was “your [his] tree”, he corrected me:

“No, mommy, it’s your tree, too.”

And I suppose since I’m the one who climbed the ladder, spent an hour or so choosing a tree skirt, and encouraged Matt to establish this father-son tradition, it is my tree, too.

And now, having read those last five words, you’ll have to excuse me while I go lie back down.

3 Responses to “Oh Tanenbaum!”

  1. Amanda says:

    Welcome to the dark side! This, of course, from the Christmas lover in the most non-religious, conspicuous consumption, give me lots of presents way possible.

  2. Amanda says:

    Oh, and if it helps, trees really are pagan, you know.

  3. christine says:

    This is our first year of having a tree too! It was for a good cause…that’s my excuse. ;-)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.