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Friday, 21 December 2007

The Perfect Christmas Tree

By Sharon Lippincott of The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing

We put the final fistful of tinsel on the tree and stood back. Our shoulders sagged as we gazed at the tree. It looked, well, sad. The branches sagged, and you could see more wall than tree. It looked like it had been the last one on the lot, and didn’t even smell like a Christmas tree. Instead of filling us with Christmas Spirit, it seemed to suck the Spirit out of us. Rather than settling in to eat popcorn and play games by the colorful light of the tree, we forlornly drifted off to other rooms.

Two days later, Mother arrived home from work lugging the tallest, thickest, most luxurious Christmas tree we had ever seen. She could barely tug it through the front door.

“What’s that?” Robin and I chorused in gleeful anticipation.

“I brought the tree home from school. It was in the trash.”

Robin and I leapt into action. We had the first tree stripped in record time. Tinsel hung on chair backs. Ornaments and lights were piled carefully on nearby couch and chairs. When Father got home, it stood bare in the stand, waiting for him to switch it with the luscious new one.

Rather amazingly, the school tree, which had stood in the school lobby for a couple of weeks, was still moist and pliant, and the fragrance of a forest filled our house.

Santa’s crew of elves couldn’t have decorated a tree more quickly or more beautifully than we did. The lights practically strung themselves, ornaments flew into the perfect spots, and even the tinsel hung evenly on all the branches. We all agreed that it didn’t need a top ornament - it was so tall and thick, it scraped the ceiling, and we didn’t want to sacrifice a single branch to shorten it.

When we finished, we stood back and caught our breath in awe. It glowed with more than the lights. It glowed with Christmas Spirit. Our hearts fluttered as we turned up the record player and sang our hearts out.

The next day, Daddy sawed up the old tree. I was torn as we stuffed it into the fireplace. It seemed so sad to burn this poor tree just because it wasn’t beautiful enough. I felt more than a little disloyal at rejecting it for the sake of appearances.

Then I looked at the new one and decided I didn’t need to feel guilty, because we hadn’t deliberately gone looking for it. It had been a gift, a gift of abundance in this season of blessing. It had been a gift of Christmas Spirit, something that had been lacking in the first tree. This was the perfect Christmas tree, never to be matched again in all my years.

“Thank you for yielding your place so gracefully,” I whispered into the flames, glad that at least that meager tree could give us the gift of warmth to help us enjoy its successor.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Sharon that was magical.


Your story was very heartwarming and, as Lisa said yesterday, it reminds us of Francie and her brother trying to get a Christmas Tree in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."

You were so lucky to have such a good Mother and Father who both tried to make you and your sister happy.

Thanks for your story and Merry Christmas.....

What a beautiful story Sharon. Thank you for sharing it with this holiday season.

And thank you too for this heart touching story.

Just lovely, Sharon. Thank you for sharing your well written Christmas tree story.

You story reminds me of how, when I was little, we always went out and got our tree on Christmas Eve. The lots were unloading trees at that late hour, so they were cheap. We always managed to find a decent tree, however, and our Christmas Eve activity was decorating it.

As an adult, I love to decorate early (not Thanksgiving weekend -- that's too early), the first weekend in Dec., and enjoy the lights and Christmas feeling all month.

Thanks for sharing your story, Sharon, and Happy Holidays!

What a great story, Sharon.

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