Oh Tannenbaum!

I bought an artificial Xmas tree when I got this house. I got a white tree that has loops for ornament hooks and lights on the tips of all the branches. The lights are blue and white and there’s a rheostat to make the alternate at whatever speed suits you. You can leave them all on or change at any speed up to seizure-inducing fast (my son’s favorite).

After 6 years, many of the bulbs have blown and Chuck suggested that I could get multicolored lights rather than all blue and white, if I wanted to.  What an excellent idea!  More gaudiness to my decorations!

I got white replacement lights and multicolored replacement lights. And after fixing all the blown out white bulbs with colors, we decided we like for it to move from white to color rather than from blue to color. So I’m shifting the bulbs. It is a long, thumb-abusing process. I don’t think I’ll get it all done before Loki gets home so I’m aiming for half. One side will be white with multicolored alternates in the blue bulbs and the other side with be blue with multicolored alternates in the white bulbs.

Last year, I wasn’t inclined to put up the tree.  I don’t remember why, but it never came out of its box.  And it’s odd that I didn’t because I love the lights that show up this time of year.  I recognize them as revenants of ceremonies to bring back the sun in the darkest time of the year and it makes me smile.  I think that most of the people putting up the gaudiest lights have no clue about the symbolism of them, just delight in their playfulness.  I really can’t imagine anyone putting up a houseful of glittering lights and not smiling when they are done.  (I can imagine someone being made to put them up and being grumpy about it, but the one doing the insisting would be smiling.)
I was raised Episcopalian, spent some time being Quaker and, now, call myself Unitarian Universalist for public consumption.  And that just because if I feel like I have to answer that question, it is the easiest way to get the questioner off my back.  “Is that Christian?”  Well, it’s not NOT-Christian.  If I were to say I am anatheist, my questioner is likely to think I have said “an atheist” and then we get a whole new conversation going that I don’t choose to participate in either.  I could say I’m Martian but that sounds like I’m just a nut, not that I believe “Thou art God.”

And all of that makes my Xmas tree even more strange.

I have memories of my childhood on that tree.  Memories of my son’s childhood.  Souvenirs of places we’ve been.  Shout-outs to the path I’ve taken.  A  trout from the freshwater aquarium in Chattanooga is one of the more non-traditional ornaments.  Loki and I were there with my family when he was 3.  We have 2 floating Buddha heads and a little skull.  There is an old man that was probably meant to be one of the 3 wise men but I have named him Lao Tzu. There are 2 golden apples.  Loki and I have deemed them Erisian.  There is a lot of sparkle and some very traditional Xmas stuff,  Santa, red-white-and-green balls, stars, crocheted snowflakes.  And a pickle.

My tree is a festival of light and a remembrance tree.  It is Yggdrasil.  It tickles the magpie in me.

I decorate to lighten the dark season and to give myself a happiness.  There is warmth in the memories and joy in the glitter.  I really don’t require any other significance.


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