Every Christmas, there was a fight in my house over how we’d decorate the tree, an evergreen we’d purchased from a pop-up store in a grocery store parking lot during the weekend after Thanksgiving. I loved watching my father untie the twine binding the branches toward the trunk and seeing them bounce and stretch into the air like birds about to take flight.
The rich pine needle smell would waft through the formal living room, where the tree was centered for all who came to our front door to see. Which made me proud on the years we decorated it the way I liked it. Probably the only instance in my entire life where I agreed with my mother: Christmas trees should be strung with white lights, crimson red bows, gold and silver balls, and red or white ornaments. The key was the white lights, which shone like stars among the pine needles and sturdy branches. I wanted them to sparkle and dance around the tree every year.
But my dad and little sister preferred those tacky colored lights that seemed more fitting for trailer homes or college dorms, not luscious green evergreen trees which shaded red, green, and gold-wrapped boxes filled with toys – and the occasional sweater or underwear (always my mother’s idea of a gift for anyone, including my seven-year-old friends).
On every Sunday after Thanksgiving, the shouting would ensue over white lights or color lights, always ending with my dad throwing his hands in the air, exclaiming “Do what you want! I don’t care,” and retreating to the den to watch golf and football. In my mind, if he wasn’t going to fight for the red, green, orange, blue, and pink lights, then white they should be – but my mother, in one of her rare moments of guilt or charity, would cave in and pathetically ask my dad to help her with stringing his rainbow lights on the top of our tree. And while my little sister bounced gleefully around the ornament boxes, there I would stand, sulking over a perfect tree ruined by pink and orange hues that were not meant for Christmas, and make a mental note of who won the fight that weekend so that I would have the grounds to win the next round of arguments when they started again the following year.
– Written by Miss A on December 15, 2011