The Ghosts of Christmas Trees Past

As we’re putting up our 4th Christmas tree post-Zoe, we still laugh about the annual fun we have when (as close as possible to “after Thanksgiving”) we put up a tree with a small child. Every year is a new adventure in parenting (and decorating) and even with each year’s new challenge, it remains one of the best parts of Christmas – right up there with the homemade fudge and cashew brittle I force my husband to make. Oh, and the gifts, of course.

The Balls are Sleeping (2011): 


Star on Top (2012):


This year our little perfectionist struggled with what “on top” means for our little star. I mean, in her defense, many pictures of Christmas trees show the star literally balanced “on top” of the tree – or have an angel with a flowing dress to cover the fact that you real CAN’T balance the topper “on top”.


You’ll be pleased to know that our star is perfectly perched atop the tree (and no Christmas trees were dragged down in the making of this year’s Johnson Christmas). But the best story of this year’s decorating might have been my brilliant idea to let our daughter pick out her own decorations for the tree…

We’ve had the same silver balls for years, and while that’s very pleasing to MY perfectionist’s desire for a simple tree, it’s not so fun for toddlers. So off to Target’s Christmas section, where my husband left me alone with a 3-year-old surrounded by not-so-simple, everything-you-can-imagine bling while he ran to the restroom.

When he found us, our daughter had picked out a 1oo-ball multi-color set in a huge circular plastic container that also worked as a drum, as it turns out. She had stuck in our cart 3 big tie-dye animal ornaments, a glitter covered blue jingle bell reindeer, a huge glitter pink candy cane, and some sparkly star garland that made me cringe. Looking at Dad, I put up my hands, helpless, and said, “Well, it IS Christmas.” I had been trying to negotiate with her nonstop since he left with zero luck…

Thankfully, my husband was the voice of reason: “WE are the adults here.

He distracted her with the idea of looking at sleeping bags and left me there to decide. I compromised. We ended up with 1 blue glitter-covered jingle bell reindeer, 1 tie-dye animal, and a much smaller pack of multicolor balls (some with glitter!) – oh, and I threw in some purple jingle bells for good measure.

Guess what? She didn’t even notice she didn’t get EXACTLY what she wanted. I guess we ARE the adults! And we had a blast decorating the tree (though the balls I picked had to be individually hand-tied on silver strings… I forced myself to look at that as a once-in-a-lifetime investment).

But now that I thin of it, who KNOWS what she’ll want next year ;)


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