We finally bought our Christmas tree late last week. Our old faithful, the Duluth Farmers’ Market, came through for us, but we barely made it in time. They apologized for the slim selection, adding that most people bought their trees Thanksgiving weekend. We were a few weeks later than that… But the real explanation was the snowfall. Because of the deep snow, they have been unable to access the remaining trees on that lot that they intended to cut yet this year. So their inventory has been frozen. Literally. Luckily for us, we still found a nice tree and happily carted it home. As predicted, the Market sold out by Saturday.
Fortunately, since it is a Blue Ball Year, Rich was actively engaged in trimming the tree, and it went up quickly. Blue Ball? Early on in our marriage we reached an impasse over Christmas tree decorations. I already had a collection of carefully selected ornaments that I had gathered over the years. Many of them were hand made by me or by friends, some were souvenirs from trips, a few were from my parents’ tree, and all had special meaning to me. But not to Rich. He wanted blue balls. Period. For him, that brought back memories of his parents’ earliest Christmases when they could only afford simple blue balls for decorations. The elegance and simplicity of the tree still resonated with him.
Since hand crafted ornaments and blue balls didn’t mix, we arrived at a compromise. We would alternate years. So every other year I get to handle my treasured collection of ornaments and memories, and continue to add to the array. On the alternate years, Rich merrily hangs blue balls. It has turned out to be a good system, and has kept the peace for 30 years now.
The good news is that the tree is now up and decorated. The lowest balls are a good plastic imitation of the shiny breakable variety, in preparation for the arrival of the grandchildren. And an active cat, who delights in denuding the lower two feet of the tree.
It now feels like Christmas in the house. The remaining decorations are up, and I even have a few Christmas cookies made. Soon presents will appear under the tree, and family will begin to arrive. Ah, Christmas!
And then I will begin anticipating next year, and triggering special moments with each unique ornament I hang.