Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Little Fabric Tree

So this morning I was reading this article. And no, I'm not going to go into another rant on my thoughts and feelings on polygamy. What I'm thinking is this: how many of us as children, or even adults, for that matter, would be satisfied with the Christmases the author so fondly describes? I mean, a homemade doll and a pair of new shoes as opposed to an iPod for everyone and months and months of debt?

But it made me think of my husband telling me about his fondest Christmas. His family was living in St. George at the time, I think, and didn't have a penny to their name. There was no money for food or electricity, let alone a Christmas tree with presents piled all around. Trav and his siblings put lights on a small, tabletop fabric Christmas tree his mother had made and decorated it the way you would a full blown 9 foot tall tree from the lot. Then he and his sister (the only two kids old enough to work at the time) pooled their money, went to the store and bought five dollar presents so the other kids would have something to open on Christmas Day.

I've never had a Christmas like that. When I originally heard Travis and his siblings remembering that Christmas, my heart just bled for all of them, particularly my parents-in-law. I can only imagine how they must have felt wanting to give their children the world but having to tell them that Santa won't be coming this year, oh, and PS no Christmas dinner either. Even though the circumstances are totally out of your control (ie layoffs, medical problems, etc), that would kill a parent.

But instead of focusing on the sad, depressing part of the circumstance, they ended up having the best Christmas in my husband's memory. He never talks about that time as being miserable, but rather about how they all came together as a family and made the best out of a crappy situation. He remembers playing board games and chatting with his family rather than sitting around watching football or the millionth showing of A Christmas Story or It's a Wonderful Life. And now I think of how proud his parents must be that their kids actually got the point, even at a young age. I hope I can instill that in our child.

My mother in law made all of us a fabric Christmas tree for our table top and it's the only decoration that Travis really gets excited about. It's not that he's a full blown Grinch (though "the term 'Grinchy' may apply when Christmas cheer's in short supply"), but I think it's the one thing that doesn't seem so...commercial to him. I think that, though he'd never admit it lest he lose Man Points, it reminds him of the true meaning of Christmas and I frequently catch him looking nostalgically at our table with the little fabric tree and remembering his favorite Christmas ever.