The Significance of the Tree

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When we moved last May, we debated about whether to bring our old tree with us. We bought it back in 2000 because we had a National Lampoon experience seeking out the perfect live tree. Three bad evergreens later (all resting outside our living room window, thank you very much), we decided to go artificial.

At that time in our lives, nothing could have been better or more convenient for us. The townhouse we were living in could handle few variables like the risk of a new tree every year, and with two more kids to come along in the next four years, we relied heavily on the structure and reliability of breaking out the box, building the bush, and plugging it in.

Voila. Instant Kristmas.

So when we moved to a much bigger home, we thought it might be time to say goodbye to ol’ greenie and go live. For some reason, we decided against it and brought the big lug with us.

We’re now glad we did.

Ol’ Greenie is now the kids’ tree in the family room, which they had a blast decorating. In the more formal living room, we put up a second, live tree. We bought brand new glass ornaments, garland, and ribbon for the tree, and without even realizing it, we were building a memorial to our mothers, both of whom passed away in 2007–five weeks apart from each other.

The last two ornaments we put up were the ones we picked out for our respective mothers. Amy picked an antiqued owl, and I selected the angel holding a star. In the beginning, I thought nothing of it, but when I approached the tree to hang up the hand-carved angel, I was overwhelmed with sadness. Suddenly there was a new significance to this live tree that was now in our living room. Yes, it embodied the spirit of Christmas and gave all of us a cause to pause and reflect, if but for a moment, every time we passed through the room. But now there was something more.

We had made it personal. We had made it mean something deeper than what we had been used to.

Simply put, when we shared our love with the tree that embodied the spirit of Christmas, it gave something back. Like the magic in Frosty’s ol’ hat, the magical feeling these two ornaments brought to the room is indescribable.

And that’s ok.

The picture at the head of this entry is Mom’s angel. I take great strength from this. Most of all, I take love to give love, and right now, I feel as if I have a limitless supply.

3 thoughts on “The Significance of the Tree

  1. What a beautiful post Rus! Since my mother passed away one week to the day after her 82 birthday, we choose to celebrate her birthday and not her death. I think she’d’ve liked that more 🙂


  2. What a fantastic post and a wonderful celebration of the season and of family. I am so sorry that both of your mothers died this year. That has to make the celebrations a bit melancholy and I’m glad to see that you are both honoring them in your celebration. It sounds like you are merging some old traditions with some new ones and that is an incredible idea. I have always loved Christmas Trees and this post is a beautiful remembrance of why they are so special. Thank you so much for sharing this.


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