The Very Special Christmas Tree

When I was a kid growing up inPuerto Rico, everybody I knew had a color-coordinated, matching Christmas tree. To me, the mismatched Christmas tree with ornaments handmade by the kids throughout their school years and special ornaments that evoked some kind of fond memory or sentimental occasion only existed in the movies. It was one of those American things, like school crossing guards and brick houses, that just belonged to a different world than mine.

Even after I moved to the States and got married, I continued the tradition of the color-coordinated Christmas tree. My tree has always matched. In fact, ALL my Christmas decorations are color-coordinated. Everything we own is red, white and silver. I absolutely love this and think our house looks like a magazine cover when I break out the decorations.

Once Dylan came home and started attending school, however, Bill raised the question of what we were going to do with all the handmade ornaments he brought home from school, wanting to proudly display them on the tree.

I thought about this for a second. There was no way I was giving up my color-coordinated tree. However, I also didn’t want my kids to be disappointed because I wouldn’t let them display their ornaments (although – whatever. The ornaments I made at school apparently disappeared the moment they entered my house, and I wasn’t scarred for life or anything).

I came up with a genius idea: I would buy our kids their own small, extra-special Christmas tree which they could decorate any way they wanted and place all their handmade ornaments through the years. We would put the best presents under their tree, to make it even more special for them.

Bill thought I was nuts and that the kids would never go for something like that.

Dylan didn’t start bringing home ornaments until last year, and since we went to PR for the holidays, the question of where to put them wasn’t an issue. This year, we decided to go to PR again so we are not putting up Christmas decorations, but while shopping at Walgreens the other day, I saw a 3-foot Christmas tree on display and happened to mention to him how I always wanted to get him his own very special Christmas tree and how he could make his own ornaments to decorate it.

Dylan was ALL OVER that idea. In fact, we went and bought a tree that very day. I let him choose his own tree (he liked the one with multicolored lights) and let him buy two ornaments (one for him, one for Liam). We also bought a candy-cane colored star to put on top of it, which he also chose. The rest of the ornaments are to be made by the boys.

I cannot tell you how excited the boys are about their tree. Liam of course has no idea what’s really going on, but Dylan just loves his tree. He wants to plug in the lights all the time, likes to just sit by the tree and look at it, and talks about how he wants to make ornaments for it. I can’t wait until he makes his first ornament at school this year and he gets to put it on his tree. He will be so excited!

Now that Bill saw how easy it was to put up the small tree for the boys, he has been won over to my idea. In fact, he says he likes it so much we should just keep that one and never again have our big, color-coordinated, real Christmas tree. THAT is never going to happen!





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