Monday, December 03, 2012

"O Christmas tree, Much pleasure dost thou bring me!"



 A 19th-century German engraving

It dawned on me this morning that I thought I always chose small, table-top Christmas trees because of my apartment situation. Small trees are infinitely easier when it comes to elevators and, during my single years, they were definitely easier to carry! What I realized though, as I looked at our twinkling tree over a cup of coffee, is that, in fact, I've been choosing them as much for their charm.

Our apartment is large -- bigger than many homes in the area -- so we can certainly fit a good sofa-size tree. Yet, when we went to the lot yesterday, we both gravitated right to the 3-4 foot group. Yes, there's the price difference... $30 versus $300... but an enormous tree, while glorious (I did stand among them for a while), just isn't us.

There's something old fashioned, something humble, about a small tree that speaks to the nature of the holiday, or the holiday as I see it. I don't want to feel dwarfed. I don't want to feel overcome by drama and showy decoration. I need my tree to be a bit more meditative. Yes, I need sparkling lights and shiny ornaments -- it's a celebration, after all! -- but really what I really need is peace, and the sense of family and history that a simple small evergreen provides.