You can hear it as you walk through the store, see it as you drive down the lit up street, and feel it every time you step outside; Christmas time has finally arrived. Now that Thanksgiving is gone I am allowing myself to be fully immersed in my favorite holiday, from drinking eggnog and hot cocoa to listening to holiday music in the car. I’ve really been looking forward to decorating our apartment and putting up our tree, and last night my wife and I finally had a night off of work together. I don’t do real christmas trees but rather opt for the artificial ones, you know the tree that won’t make my nose runny and my eyes itchy. My grandmother had an artificial tree that she gave to us when we moved this summer, which worked out perfectly since when we moved from Florida we had absolutely no room in the car to fit a tiny dog, let alone a large christmas tree. Last week in preparation for the holiday I pulled the big crate containing the tree out of our storage room and each day as I see it lying there in the corner, my excitement builds.
In anticipation I went out and bought some garland and several hundred lights that I was very eager to drape around the tree. My mom bought us a couple of new ornaments and they were sitting on the coffee table, waiting to take their place on the fake branches, while the fake tree begged us to be let out of the box. Last night I obliged and began sorting the branches into different piles, the one’s with red tape on the stool, brown tape on the coffee table, white tape on the couch. I pulled out the top piece of the tree, the one that would look over us and protect us this holiday season. I got to the bottom of the box and finally pulled out the tree skirt, a gift given to my grandmother with all of her grandkids handprints painted on. I looked underneath and rechecked all of the sorted pieces but no matter where I looked or how hard I wished it, reality of the situation hit me. We were missing two center pieces, the bottom and middle, two key pieces to the structural integrity of our tree.
So now I’m faced with a decision; do I go out and buy a new tree, or do I roll with the punches and keep the partial tree I already have? I can just stick the top portion of the current tree in a stand and it will look as any good christmas tree should, albeit only two feet tall. The more I think about that option the more it appeals to me. I like the quirkiness of having such a small christmas tree, that will be undoubtedly be the source of questions from anyone who visits our house over the many years to come. We can tell the kids the origin story of how our tiny tree came to be, and when they are older we can pass it along to them and the tradition will continue. Yes, that is what we’ll do, embrace the incomplete tree and accept it for what it is. Maybe we’ll call it tiny Tim.