Years ago, along with the commitment to buying a bit of a bigger tree each year, I also began to collect ornaments from my travels. It’s a great way to capture the essence of a special place you’ve been, or a special year you’ve had, or even just a keepsake as a treasured memory of home. Christmas is a holiday you can celebrate all year, by collecting these mementos.
“One Christmas my father kept our tree up till March. He hated to see it go. I loved that.” Mo Rocca
Christmas is so much a celebration of joy. It brings with it nostalgia, anticipation of wonderful things to come and the warmth that comes with memories of good times with friends and family. So, the first Christmas that I woke up alone in my little studio apartment in New York was a bit disorienting. I had never imagined that I would have a Christmas morning alone. It was both startling, disconcerting and also fun in a very different way. I felt accomplished, having set up a tree, to ensure my Christmas day would start out festive and joyful.
I think that’s why having a Christmas tree every year, no matter what, became such an important thing to me. It’s a wonderful and constant companion to the holiday, no matter if you’re with friends, family or on your own. You will find yourself with plenty of time and parties to celebrate the holiday with lots of people.
But waking up to a tree dressed in the beautiful reminders of all the great places you’ve been to, or things that you’ve done, people you’ve known…that’s a really special thing that I think everyone should aim for at Christmas. You get to savor the experience every day that the tree is up, not just on Christmas morning itself. And it becomes so personal.
I have ornaments from London, Paris, Nantucket, New Mexico, Arizona, Provence, Italy, and more. I have a small collection of glass bulbs from my mother’s trees. I have ornaments that friends and colleagues gifted over the years. I have a small collection of wooden ornaments, shells, a small creche. I have a beautiful collection of the 12 days of Christmas. And some that I made as a child in school. Each one has meaning.
I always try to leave some ornaments out for anyone who comes to my home over the holidays to hang. It gives me great pleasure to share my tree. I call it “honoring the tree”. And each morning leading up to Christmas, I turn on the tree lights, and sip my cup of coffee or tea while looking at it and recalling the meaning behind each treasured decoration.
Playing special Christmas music. Waking up to the refreshing aroma of pine, looking at this beautiful and unique creation. All of it makes me feel so happy. It’s a gift you can give yourself, every year, a very important one I think, especially if you’re on your own.
That’s “A Table For One” exquisite celebration! Merry Christmas to all!
Copyright 2015 Marion M. O’Grady