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saturday 12.02.2000

we finally put up the tree today. i say finally because it should have been done thanksgiving. but eeveryone has been sick since thanksgiving and this was the earliest anyone felt up to it. and it almost caused a fight. but i think every household has to have at least one holiday stress induced fight. we could have avoided it if we had gone with our first instincts and not put up the tree this year, or if we had been wise and inspected the lights last night to see which were working. but the kids wanted the tree, even though there will be no gifts under it, and we still weren't up to even thinking about putting up the tree last night, much less inspecting the lights to see what needs fixing or replacing. the easy part for us is the tree itself. it's fake. 100% fake. so we just unpack, put together and go. no cutting, hauling, paying $35-$50 per year, lifting, driving, hauling some more, cutting own, watering, fighting to get it to stand straight, cleaning up spilled water, turning to find the best side, keeping it watered, cleaning up dry needles, or hauling it again when the holiday is over. nope, open the box, put it together, any side will do, no water, end of year take it apart and box it again. and i think our tree has come down to about $15/year now. next year it will be even less. besides, with kids and, at one time, a cat, a real tree would have been more of a mess and a danger than i really wanted to deal with. so, fake tree. talk about being forever green.

and tonight, we got it out of the box, he set it up and put lights on it (that's where we nearly had the argument . . all the lights were on top, i tried to let it go, he fixed it anyway). then came the fun. calling the kids down to decorate it. this year we had more ornaments for it as we no longer have the burglar bars in the front window to decorate. and i decided to parcel out the ornaments into piles before the kids got started so everyone had the same number of ornaments to put up. no arguments or pushing and whining there this year. worked wonderfully. and kitten was more than willing to help taz put his stuff up (he tends to pull the bows out of the ribbons). have you ever seen a child decorated tree? ours has all the ornaments in clumps, with space between each clump. very pretty, but makes you wonder where the rest of the ornaments are.

for us tree decorating goes in two stages: the kids stuff which is to say the non-breakables, and the non-kids stuff or the glass. they put theirs up first, then saxy and i get in there with the glass stuff. now, this doesn't help the clumping as mach as you would think as we don't place the glass down low. so, in addition to clumpy, it is a bit "top heavy" all the glass is in the upper half of the tree.

but it is a very beautiful tree. all the more so because they wanted it, even without gifts, they wanted it because of what it represents to this family for the holiday. the symbolism behind the evergreen for us (everlasting life), the red and white ribbons (his blood spilled and his purity) we use to hang the ornaments, and the symbolism of the ornaments we place upon it. we don't just go and buy any ol' ornament. our tree has a theme, even if it doesn't appear to: it is a family christ-mas tree. and everything on it represents someone n the family or has to do with christ and our faith in him. this celebration of our faith in christ is what this season is all about for us. and i am so overjoyed that the children KNOW that. last year i had the pride and joy of hearing my oldest explain what everything on the tree means to her grandparents on saxy's side. this foundation in faith is one thing i have helped my children build. it is the ONE thing i have done good by them in. and the return, having them want the tree despite the lack of presents, being able to explain what everything on the tree means, to find joy in this season without the gifts, is more awesome to me than i can even relate here.

i am very proud of my kids. and i have never seen a more beautiful thing than our lumpy, top-heavy christmas tree.

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