Christmas tree tradition is an important part of the family history story

Today, I put up our Christmas tree. I always put it up on or by the first weekend of December. Not before December. Always before the end of the first weekend though. Tradition is tradition – particularly for a genealogist and writer of historical fiction stories.

Every year, for about two weeks before I put it up, I wonder if I should get a new tree. The new ones look so lovely. But, as usual, I pulled it out and put it up – and was not sorry that I did.

You see, my parents have been dead for a long time: Mum died in 1999 and Dad in 2002. My mother loved Christmas. The tree went up every year, even after we had moved out and had children, the tree was always there for the kids to choose a decoration to put on the tree. And, of course, there were presents under it for each of them: even though Nan and Pop didn’t have a lot of money, they always made sure that there was a thoughtful gift for each grandchild.

Late November of the year that Mum died, I called in to see Dad. There, in the middle of the lounge room, was the Christmas tree and its decorations, all still in their boxes. Dad was sitting in his chair, shoulders slumped, just looking at the boxes. When I came in, he looked up at me:

“I just can’t put it up. Your mother loved Christmas.”

I moved over to him, gave him a hug, and asked him if he wanted me to do it.

“No, thanks. I don’t think I could have it up in the house any more. But it has to go up: your mother will be very disappointed if it doesn’t. Can you put it up at your house?”

Once I made sure it was what he really wanted, I packed tree and decorations into my car. I checked with my sisters if they were okay with it going to my house and they were.

This is the same tree. Some of the decorations are Mums, some are mine. But they are all our family decorations.

And that tree winorm-and-judy-wheway-nee-tylerll go up every year, with decorations added as family are added, until it no longer has branches and can no longer stand.

Merry Christmas, Mum and Dad.XX

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