I put my Christmas tree up this year and decorated it. I am incredibly proud of myself. It has been a while since I have had a decorated tree in my home.
I put my tree up just before Thanksgiving in 2011 but it remained undecorated, except for a few orange slices and Christmas cards. You see, the day before Turkey Day I received a call at work from a neighbor who appeared to start their own personal jihad on our Condo Association, in general, and myself, in particular.
In what I could only compare to a batshit crazy banshee’s wailing, my ears were assaulted with profanity-laden accusations that were most certainly not filled with holiday cheer. Needless to say, my motivation for getting the actual ornaments and lights on the tree evaporated. And so marked the holiday I learned – if I ever purchase another condo, it will be in a 1,000 unit complex where I can blessedly not know all my neighbors.
Then came Christmas 2012. After a year of the most awesomely craptastic year ever, I did not have the emotional desire or psychological strength to put the tree up. I guess I was still mourning and I gave myself the gift of doing nothing. So the holidays came and went without a stocking hung or a tree adorned.
But this year, the tree went up and the ornaments went on. And as I was placing each ornament on the tree I also took a lovely trip down memory lane. You see, a colleague of mine, a travel writer, once told me that she does not purchase the usual souvenirs when she travels. Instead of salt and pepper shakers or a tiny spoon, she purchases a Christmas ornament. I thought that was brilliant. I decided to expand it to not just traveling on vacation to exotic destinations, since I can’t really afford that, but to any travels to new places and for marking events and moments of my life, big and small.
So up went my life. Up went my solo-travels and travels with friends. Up went visits from and weddings of loved ones. Up went experiences and journeys that have made up my life thus far. And after the last two years, each ornament and memory I placed on the tree was more beautiful than I remembered.