Friday, December 04, 2009

A Christmas tradition - den Boer

Putting up the Christmas tree always was and continues to be one of my favourite family things to do. I don’t know why—could be a Charlie Brown quirk.

It’s certainly not because of the idyllic nature of this event in our home. Take our 1986 typical den Boer memory-making tree trimming. Why does this warm my heart?
To keep things manageable that year, Marty wisely suggested 19-month-old Michelle be in bed for the occasion. I vetoed this in favour of a truly family event. So, with all six family members in attendance we started the tree-trimming in the kitchen. Marty sawed the trunk to fit into the tree stand. Then he rammed the six-foot spruce toward its destination in the living room, brushing past doorways, children and furniture.
I followed behind, sweeping up a trail of sawdust and needles. Michelle cried. You would too, if a tree twenty times your size came rushing at you. But, by the time we had the tree straight in its stand, Michelle, with her forgiving nature and short memory, was ready to join her siblings in whatever happened next.
While Marty strung the lights, five-year-old Alison danced on the couch destroying the paper box which belonged to the lights. Paul (3) and Angela (7) headed for the cartons of decorations. I yelled out the procedure: “In one corner Mommy takes out the decorations. In the other corner Daddy hangs the decorations. Children take the decorations from Mommy to Daddy.”
A simple plan, but like many such plans, reality changed it beyond recognition. Mommy untangled a mass of wire hooks. Children handed her ornaments to be hooked. Children hung the ornaments on the tree. Daddy oversaw and rehung when necessary. Michelle walked around with a large unbreakable ornament until it dawned on her that others were handling many ornaments. Not to be outdone, she grunted persistently begging breakable ornaments from Mommy, to be brought to Daddy. She was so efficient at this that soon Daddy was juggling four ornaments at once.
When Michelle realized Daddy could not hold any more, she simply ran back and forth between Mommy and the tree trading for a new ornament each time. Finally all the decorations were hung and Michelle cried because it was over. I put her to bed.
That left Marty and the three oldest to put on the icicles which they undertook in the tradition which Marty brought to the family. Each icicle must be hung individually and must fall straight down.
Personally, being from a family of icicle flingers, I could not bring myself to join in this tedious task. Flinging icicles was once the best part of the whole decorating process, but for the sake of happy memories for all of us, I gave it up. The few moments of fun I would spend flinging would probably be nothing compared to the irritation Marty would suffer every time he saw the helter-skelter icicles on the tree.
Why is putting up the Christmas tree still one of my favourite things to do?


The Old Geezer said...

You have a interesting blog.
God Bless You

storygal said...

Assuming this story was some years ago—maybe not too many— do your children still talk about that tree trimming event?

Thanks for sharing your story.

Peter Black said...

Your vivid description of your memorable family Christmas tree event put me there in the room with you all.
Well done, Marion.
"Flinging icicles" -- a novel term ... makes me smile :)

Belinda said...

I am a fellow flinger! :)

Marian said...

Storygal: for my children I'm sure this particular tree-trimming melds into all the other ones.

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