Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thy Leaves are So Unchanging

There's something about a Christmas tree. I think it's the smell, the promise of a green that remains constant throughout the changing seasons, the opportunity to adorn the branches with light and symbols of the season, and the excitement of celebration. I love the line from the famous song: "O Christmas tree! You fill my heart with music."

I've had such fun with Christmas trees over the years.

One of my favorite things about being in London for study abroad was experiencing all the Christmas festivities. We went one wintery Sunday evening to Trafalgar Square for the lighting of the Christmas tree and witnessed protesters from Norway, where the tree had originated. We didn't let that hamper our BYU Christmas spirit... we had our own It's an Emily Christensen Christmas special and danced to Yahoo Dooray around the tree in the parlor. Anyone have a picture of that?!?

I remember one year living at the Riviera in Provo. We had a delightful roommate, Tanya, who kept her bike in the living room corner and NEVER rode it. Not even once. So one late night, Tammy and Jamie and I made it into a Christmas tree. We hung it from the ceiling hook in the corner and wrapped it in fake evergreen boughs from my mom's attic. Then we decorated it. If ANYONE has a picture of this, PLEASE send it.

Then, of course, my Christmas in Italy. We found this little teensy bitty tree tucked away in the closet and brought it out into our beautiful Palermo home, with torn wallpaper and disgusting furniture and cockroaches and running water only every other day or so. We decorated it with ornaments Mom and Barbara made at Thanksgiving and mailed to Sicily--can you believe they made it in time for Christmas with the Italian postal system? We also found one of those Primary paper nativity scenes and an Italian Libro di Mormon to complete the decor. I loved that little tree. I loved that Christmas and the memory of the African branch Christmas party and drunk Italians singing "They Say This Is Christmas" to us because it was the only Christmas song in English they knew. Oh and the food! (the exclamation is NOT for the panettone pictured here).

Yes, my sweet mother sent me that big, comfy knit red dress for Christmas. And can you believe those shoes I'm wearing? I'm SO 1990s sister missionary...

The next year I had just returned from my mission. I came home to a crazy Christmas--divorced parents, three cousins killed in a car accident on the way home from my homecoming, not to mention the crazy transition of returning home from the mission, feeling awkward, fat, white, and between two worlds. We got a Christmas tree that year but never decorated it. Instead we went to Disneyland and sat in the sun.

When I moved to New York City with my three suitcases of all my worldly possessions and living on the tightest student loan budget, I didn't know how Christmas would shake out. My good friends shipped me my little artificial Christmas tree, and Becky and D'Arcy and I decorated it with cheap lights from Rite Aid. We made ornaments out of dried apples and oranges and strung popcorn and cranberries. It was our cheapie Harlem Christmas tree and we loved the light and excitement it brought to our little apartment.

As I've lived in the East, I've come to love the big Christmas trees set up around town. Of course the tree at Rockefeller Plaza in NYC. A couple of years ago I loved a date night to the National Christmas tree on the ellipse, complete with a visit to the designer Christmas trees in the Georgetown Plaza hotel, with my boyfriend pretending to be interested in purchasing a couple of them and making arrangements to come back and pick them up. It was great fun!

For some reason, this year I just couldn't make do with my little artificial Christmas tree. I'm not going home for Christmas and what with a lot of crazy changes around this little house, I needed the real deal. So Ivy and I ventured out to Home Depot after Thanksgiving and got our little Douglas Fir pictured above. Even better was the little red purse ornament my GranNomi sent for "your first Christmas away from home."

I love walking in the door, dusting off my snowy or leafy feet, and taking in a whiff of the real deal evergreen scent. I love plugging in and basking in the light of the tree. I love the constant green and the music that it brings as I forge forward.

For every year the Christmas tree
Brings to us both joy and glee.


Jennifer said...

OH! And how could you forget our Eddie Bauer "Star Light, Star Bright, Where the [bleep] is Mr. Right!?!" Tree!

Snowed in over there in Vir-jenny?

(Guess who's been taking comps and is a little bit nutty?!)


Vicki said...

Merry Christmas, Jenny! I loved reading that.

The Wyler Family said...

beautiful tree! i wish you would be here with us for christmas. oh, and i can't stand that panettone (pan dulce in uruguay). i had to eat that at pretty much every house we entered for two christmases. ugh! i don't know how it was in italy, but it was dry and disgusting in uruguay. anyway... loved reading about your history of trees. :)

Laurie, the girls and Scott said...

Merry Christmas, Jenny Reeder! I'd forgotten about the protesters. I do have a photograph of me with a police officer and his bike at the big event though. I loved, loved the Emily Christensen Christmas. Thank you for helping me remember! I love the tree! Enjoy it!