By Amy McCollom
I love driving around looking at Christmas lights, and especially getting a glimpse of the glowing trees inside the houses. I just love Christmas trees. Ever since I was a kid, Christmas trees make my heart go “Wow!” Exhilarating, electric, magical, glorious, soul-fainting excitement comes over me for a few moments. Does that happen to anyone else? Maybe it’s the magic of Christmas, or maybe it’s my inner-raccoon that just likes shiny things, I don’t know.
This year I knew that our Christmas tree had to be something spectacular. After down-sizing from large trees, and being met by a family revolt over the pint-sized trees we have had over the last several years, I had to bring the magic of Christmas back to our home before it was lost altogether. So, thus began my quest.
I pictured in my mind different types of trees, themes, colors, and styles. My mom was always good at designing a great theme Christmas tree. She would play around with different styles; one year she would use wooden apples, tiny bears, pinecones, and burlap ribbon, yet another year she might use musical notes, grape vines, velvet and pearl bulbs, and rope garland. Formal, informal, and all things in between. Her Christmas trees looked like the kind you would see at department stores. But when we were kids and brought home hand-made ornaments for our tree, we knew they were not going on our tree. The things we made usually ended up in the garbage. Sad really, but at least our Christmas tree was perfect.
What do you feel about Disney and Cartoon character trees? Yes, they are cute and clever, but do they cheapen the meaning of the Christmas tree? What does the Christmas tree represent? I guess it boils down to what you believe and what you want your Christmas tree to reflect about your beliefs.
The lyrics to the German Christmas song, Oh Tannenbaum (Oh Christmas Tree) has many versions attributed to several authors both known and unknown. The collected meaning, though, is the ringing anthem that the evergreen and it’s remarkable endurance and beauty through all seasons is astounding and worthy of celebration, and reflective of the birth of our Savior Jesus, who is also always alive and worthy to be celebrated.
In my quest, at first I wanted a specific, natural Alpine tree with at least 100 lights, and a wood trunk, and a height of at least six-feet tall. I had in mind to get all nature type of ornaments, such as deer, and owls, and rustic wood ornaments, as we are simple people. Yet the more I looked at trees the more I liked this silver/gold one I saw. I wanted it in rose gold but could not find it, so I was distraught. Then, by chance, I stopped at a store on the edge of Champaign, and there it was! The very last one of the trees that I had been searching for! Rose gold and silver Aspen pine. And it was on sale. I almost heard angels singing, “Ahhhhhh!!!!!” I put that tree in my cart faster than a toddler running for the toy section.
We set it up last night, and after watching a video or two on how to decorate like a pro, I stuffed and poked, pulled and positioned ribbon and glitter and gold bulbs and little naked cherubs all over the tree. Yes, it is beautiful, and it did indeed make my heart go “wow!” Christmas and Christmas trees are only going to be as good as you make them. I hope you have a seriously magical Christmas.