My Tree and Me
By Tina Portelli
December 24, 2002
I love trees and hate to see their life cut short because of this holiday
we celebrate, Christmas. Tortured branches with weight of heavy ornaments,
risking fire, fighting to stay alive. Every year of my youth, a tree was
placed in our home for us to decorate and enjoy. The process involved did
not concern me, I only knew it felt like Christmas.
When I came to live on my own, it seemed like too much trouble to continue
this tradition just for myself. After all, who would see the tree but me?
I thought it not important enough so opted to enjoy the trees in homes of
others. I remember those as melancholy holiday seasons emphasizing my
It has been ten years now since I have created my own tree tradition. I
search for the perfect rotund, not feeling guilty that by purchasing this
creation of nature I am guilty of encouraging tree murder.
But I need my fix of holiday spirit, to see all things in a whiter bright
light at least once a year. This task is done two weeks before Christmas,
on a Friday night. My tree is delivered to the top floor of my low ceiling
apartment. Pine needles trail the hall into my bedroom where I place the
tree on a table by my bed. My pine fragrant, hundred light bush serves as
my temporary table lamp.
I break open a bottle of wine, pull out the dusty decoration box, turn on
Nat King Cole and I am ready to work. This is not an easy task for a tiny
person, but with the aid of my kitchen chair I am able to get that angel
straight on top. I do not spend much money on tree ornaments, row of
ribbons are my unique decorating signature. With my cats chasing every
ribbon, every moving object, I am having real fun.
After I have swept the needles, tossed the empty cartons, shut the overhead
lights, I race to the shower, jump into my Christmas pajamas, boil some
tea, sit and inhale the joy of my creation. I no longer feel it a waste to
do all this for myself, even if Christmas is meant for children. When the
task is done and the lights are lit, I am lit as well. The beauty of it
all overwhelms me and I am a child again, if only for a night.
These weeks before Christmas, it is a joy to come home, plug in the lights,
turn on the music and sit, with my tree by me. No presents are needed,
just the warm glow and a peaceful know.
And if I get lucky, perhaps some beautiful snow.