As a child, decorating the Christmas tree was a joy. It was the one time we were happily working together with no sibling rivalry to interfere. There was a procedure: garland around the tree, round glass ornaments, special ornaments we made in school, and finally the icicles which had to be placed one by one on the branches. Of course, before any of the decorating could begin, the lights had to be carefully placed on the tree.
We rarely decorated the tree more than a week before Christmas. I think we used to take the station wagon to the A & P or Kroger and buy it. The tree sat outside for a few days so it could “fall out.” Once the tree was in the house, I think we all tried to get lost while Daddy put the lights on the tree. This was because every year he spent hours untangling them. I am sure there were some choice words uttered, but we were hiding out and did not hear them. After getting the mess of lights straightened out, Daddy spent hours placing each light just so. Then we were allowed to put the ornaments on. I loved it.
In the late 60’s my parents purchased an older home that had twelve foot ceilings. The tree was placed in the front window of the living room, which was decorated in a light blue. My parents decided to buy tiny light blue lights to match things (or maybe it was that Elvis song that made them do it). Anyway, there were 400 hundred tiny lights on that tree, and we thought it was spectacular.
For the past thirty-five years I have been decorating my own trees. It’s not the joyful chore it once was. But I get the light thing from my father. More lights=awesome. Each year I started out with my carefully stored strings of lights thinking there were enough, and about half way up the tree my husband had to go out for more. Last year I think there were 2300 mini lights on the tree and at least a hundred ornaments. Overwhelming.
This year was different. I just did not have it in me, so there are only 1300 or so. The amazing thing is that the ornaments show up so much better than before. Maybe less is more.