It’s been a year, that’s for sure.
Last Christmas, my husband was dying.
He was still doing well enough that we could get out to lunch once in a while. We did our traditional thing and watched White Christmas, finally admitting to each other – after all those years – that it is a truly awful movie.
This year, I carried on and watched it solo.
It is, indeed, a truly awful movie – so awful that I cried during the entire thing!
But, oh, that Bing-Rosie rendition of the eponymous song…
Meanwhile, life – and Christmas – go on.
This year, I found out that it is indeed possible for me to single-handedly get a 7’ tree in the stand, and make sure it’s upright and stable, by myself. And it only took me about 5 minutes, which was far less time than it ever took us to do it together. I will not be counting on a Miracle at Beacon Street next year, and will be ordering one of those foot-levered stands that promise you an upright and stable tree, even if you’re putting it up on your own. We’ll see.
So, thar she blows. Not my best photo ever, but you get the point. Next year’s shot will be taken with something other than an aged Blackberry.
It’s not exactly a perfect tree, and it’s not exactly perfectly decorated.
But if I live by one rule in my life, it’s my grandmother’s: if a man on a galloping horse wouldn’t notice, then don’t bother with it.
So I could have done a better spot of placing that bare spot to the rear. And making sure that the lights and ornaments were more precisely placed.
But, since a man on a galloping horse wouldn’t notice…
What matters more to me is the ornaments themselves.
Some were picked up on our travels. So I have ornaments from Ireland, Paris, Prague, Budapest…Some are New Yorky – the yellow cab, the Empire State Building.
I have ornaments that my mother made, and ornaments – they take pride of place – from my parents’ first Christmas tree.
A lot of my ornaments were gifts, and when I hang them I enjoy thinking about the friends and family members who gave them to me.
Some of my ornaments commemorate pets, living and dead.
I have a number of angels, a number of pigs, a few sweaters, and an awful lot of VW Beetles.
I have some that are family in-jokes: the Jell-o mold, the sock monkey. And some that I just think are funny. (E.g., Groucho nose and glasses.)
Out my kitchen window, I can see a neighbor’s tree. Perfectly lovely, perfectly boring. All red shining balls.
No handmade felt cat (the late and much lamented Emily, the most dog-like cat in the history of catkind). No first-Christmas-after-The-War Santa in the sleigh drawn by the reindeer with the broken leg. No Irish Post Office (Oifig Phoist).
Imperfect as it is, I love my tree.
Tonight I’ll be enjoying it with my perfectly imperfect family. (Or is it the other way around? Whatever, they’ve made this past year one whole hell of a lot easier for me.) We will drink wine, eat too much, and belt out Christmas in Killarney, Good King Wenceslas, and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. Our Yankee Swap will the best – or worst – ever.
We will talk about Christmases past (a bit), and Christmas present.
We will miss old friends and relations. (That’s for sure.)
Anyway, Pink Slip wishes you all a very Merry Christmas, a very Happy Holiday (if yours isn’t Christmas), and a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year.
Pink Slip is taking the week off, and will return next week to ring in the New Year.