The thing is twelve feet tall, before decorations. (No, I am not joking. Yes, I am crazy. And before you ask, I probably won’t buy one quite this big ever again. It requires an insane amount of time to set up and take down. But I love the end result.)
Anyway, that first year when the tree was up and decorated, one of my new neighbors made an offhanded comment that was something like, “Wow, how will the rest of us ever keep up with that?”
Even though it was said in a joking tone, those words stung deep. Our choice of tree was not about competition. It was about joy. Joy for being in our new house, joy for the season and everything it meant, and joy for being able to make our family celebration as big or as tall as we chose to make it.Or on the other side of that coin, as simple or as small.
The day we walked into Costco and saw the tree, my kids squealed in delight, and their eyes lit up with sparkles. And funny enough, the cost turned out to be significantly less than many of the other trees we’d looked at that day. It was a good purchase that has lasted seven years and counting.
But every year when I’m decorating this monstrosity, that particular comment comes back and reminds me why I do things the way I choose, and why I don’t do them the way other people would have me do.
Regardless of what some might think, Christmas spirit is not determined by the size of your tree (or the number of lights) any more than a man’s masculinity is determined by the size of his truck or SUV. Any more than a woman’s worth is determined by her ability to sew or cook or clean house. (Yeah, that last one is so cliché it’s ridiculous. Forgive me for that. I’m lacking in all those departments.)
There was not a lit Christmas tree in Bethlehem or lights circling the roof of the stable. No gifts wrapped in expensive paper. No Black Friday shopping days. There was a family, experiencing quiet moments of pure, unadulterated joy.
Our tree could be a one-foot twig for all that it matters. We’d still find joy within the quiet warmth of our family. The only difference is it wouldn’t be quite so visible to the rest of the world.
What do you think? Does the size of your tree really matter? And do you really care what the neighbors think?
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