I don't know about you all, but in my family, we are a real-live-Christmas-tree people. Well. My immediate family, anyway. So yesterday we went and fetched our Christmas tree. My parents and my sister and I have always gone to Hollow Creek Tree Farm for our trees. And in recent years, sometime around Thanksgiving, Daddy has tried to make a case for Making the Switch. He is ready for us to be a fake tree family. He's the one who gets to cut down our tree and lug it in and out of the house every year, and I guess it doesn't put him in the holiday spirit to get hay and pine needles all down his britches like that. But Mama always gives him the whatfor and we get a live tree and Christmas is saved. This year, though, it seemed like he had finally dampened her spirit. He said he'd do the whole tree thing IF the tree was for me and Mike, and they could finally convert and maybe just get a nice live wreath for the smell. And he almost had her. Until we cut down our tree and sent it off, along with that scary, scary saw they give you. And then Mama spotted a sweet little baby tree. And it was really sincere. So we trekked back for another saw, which was a little awkward. "So, we were just here, with the guy that made you pose for that goofy picture where we all look at the Tree Map and point in different directions, you remember, and you gave us that saw? Even though you were worried that we maybe shouldn't be trusted to operate sharp cutty things? Well, we are kind of going to need another saw. Heh heh. We just love trees!"
Then of course we had to go to Target for new ornaments, since the tree was so much smaller than Mama's usual ones and couldn't stand the weight of the 95 popsicle stick snowflakes and clothespin reindeer Emily and I made in 1st grade. It is here that I must admit that I do not derive any Christmas Joy from all those dang ornaments. Our tree is always beautiful, and I know Mama loves to have the ornaments that we all picked or made over the years, and that is what makes her love the tree so much. Still, I have made it clear to my family: Erin is not an ornament person. I will not be one of those moms who treasures every sweet ornamenty keepsake my children assemble. I cannot deal with the delicate wrapping in tissue paper of one million ornaments, each of which represents some special memory like the time I had to go first in that stupid gift swap or when Granny told me to pick out an ornament at the Dollar Tree when what I really wanted was those colorful plastic rocks you put in the bottom of a fishtank. (As a kid, I really loved small, brightly colored things that were completely useless and made a big mess. Also I used to collect pencil points. Why?) I don't want to sound scroogy, but I want my ornaments to match. I want them to come in those easy plastic trays with the indentions. Better yet, I want to just fling them all into a tub and not have to worry about precious things getting broken. If a shiny red ball breaks to bits, I can just go out and get another one at ANY STORE for next year. Is that wrong? Am I being an ornament snob?
I don't know. Maybe after I have kids it'll change. Surely my mama didn't grow up thinking "I can't wait to hang goofy, mismatched ornaments all over my tree." But I can tell you right now, I will never be one of those parents who lets their kid choose gigantic, hideous red-framed Nintendo glasses at the optometrist, no matter how much she insists that she'll never get tired of them. And it only took two years of looking utterly ridiculous to figure that one out.