Last year* I received a most wonderful, thoughtful gift from my family, spearheaded by our oldest daughter, Sharnessa. (*2016)
For the significance of this gift to be fully appreciated, I have to go back a few years… Well, more like a few decades. I was eight or nine years old at the time… During the first 19 years I lived at home, we had many Christmas trees. Well, 19 trees, to be exact, since Christmas comes exactly one time each year and we had only one Christmas Tree per year.
Throughout the years, those trees had new ornaments added, original ones kept, and ornaments that we seven kids would make for it. Some years we'd have tinsel, which was always more densely populated at the bottom where tiny hands had "decked the boughs" more thickly. (Mom and I ~ the oldest ~ would quietly remedy this after the kids were in bed.)
But it mattered not one iota what was on ~ or not on ~ a Christmas Tree, I loved each and every one of them! There was one tree that stood out as being very different from the others… A white flocked tree with blue lights and shiny blue balls. This tree had an elegant magic about it, with all of its radiant blueness glowing through the fluffy-white flocking! It was breathtaking!!! I would sit in the living room and just stare at it, taking in its soft, soothing, glowing ambiance. Of course, all the love that Mom put into Christmas was a big part of that magic! I remember how FUN it was when we got a JC Penney's, Montgomery Wards, or Sears (& Roebuck) catalog, and Mom would have us go through them and put our initials by the items we wanted for Christmas!
"Glenvonnie" on eBay allowed me to use this
photo of a Sears catalog from 1958, which is probably
the exact one that I would have looked over!
(As a thank you, I have linked you
to their store from the photo.)
Mom and Dad were not loaded with money – but I never knew it! We weren’t at all poor either, but we were certainly rich in family traditions – like... • The Advent wreath, with the lighting of a candle and reading a devotional each night before dinner • Earning pieces of straw to go in our manger (that we made out of construction paper) for Baby Jesus (who we had made out of Kleenex, tape, and rubberbands)
• As we got older, we got to go to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.
• And Christmas morning there was the little procession of all of us kids with the youngest child (who could walk) carrying Baby Jesus down the hall, the youngest’s chubby fingers placing him into the manger of the Nativity Scene. (This had to happen before gift opening!) All of these traditions were the radiating nucleus of the Christmas ambiance for me, so the decorated tree was just an added enhancement ~ the central icon in our home representing all the goodness that Christmas was about.
I couldn't find any pictures of the above happenings, but I did find one of me on my very first Christmas, so I would have been 5 months old here...
This is from a page in the baby book that Mom made for me. (She actually made one for all seven of us kids!) In fact, here's the same picture (the left edge unedited) in context on the baby book page. (Slightly yellowed! We're talkin' 65 years ago!)
BACK TO MY STORY
Over the years, I had told my own kids about this Blue Christmas Tree that stood out to me the most! Fast-forward to the Autumn of 2016, when Mom left this Earth to be with the Lord. Just two months later, my dear mother-in-law followed suit and joined my mom and her Lord in Heaven.
So it was a difficult few months, to say the least. Sharnessa thought that, since this was my first Christmas without either of my moms, (Dad had already passed away four years prior,) it would be sweet for me to have – right in my own home – a replica of that blue and white Christmas tree that had been so special to me 50+ years ago!
So, unbeknownst to me, she rallied the troops and the funds to reproduce that special memory for me! I knew nothing of this until, at one point during our annual Tree Fetching gathering here at our house (which we do with my sister and her family), I was banned from the family room! 😄🎄 I could hear all sorts of chattering and goings-on in there, but had NO idea ~ not even a guess ~ of what they were doing, which took at least an hour!
And every so often, one of the kids would come out to the living room and make sure I wasn't peeking. (Cuz we have French doors between the living room and the family room, and, had I wanted to, I could have peeked. Finally, they came out to the living room where I was, had me close my eyes, and Dave guided me into the family room and positioned me to see the tree! I opened my eyes and was... AMAAAAAAZED!!!!!!!!!!
Same tree, but with the room lights totally out, which is more what I remember it looking like...
I was surprised that I didn't cry – as I think some might have thought I would. And I hoped my lack of tears wasn't disappointing anyone. But I think I have a good excuse!!! ...
Being shot back in time five decades, I only felt the same sweet wonder of that tree that I had felt as a child! And that child would only have stood there in awe. Not crying. ☺️ Of course delight, surprise, and joy were mixed in with the awe of that moment. And the delight was enhanced by the fact that, since a tree topper had not been thought of, my little niece Brenna had happily volunteered to make one!
Someone said that they could get a "real" tree topper for it later, but I said "No, this is as real as they come!" (However, I have to admit that, at an after-Christmas sale, I spotted a beautiful vintage-style, multi-faceted iridescent glowing star that I just had to get for it!) Just to reassure you sentimentalists, I did eventually cry, being soooo deeply touched that my family would do such a beautiful, thoughtful thing for me!!!!!!!
I'd love to hear
any special memories
YOU have of a certain