Last Monday night, E and I followed the signs from the subway station to “Ditmars Forest,” the slice of sidewalk in our neighborhood that has been overtaken by fresh-cut evergreen trees available for purchase. After just a few minutes of holding trees up for inspection, we selected one: a 4-ish foot high Noble Fir that looked much fuller and more symmetrical on the sidewalk than it did once we got it home.
But get it home, we did! I spent the evening wrestling with dollar store strings of lights and ornaments from CVS and Ikea (and a few special ones we’ve picked up over the last few months, such as that zebra up there). While I worked, I listened to the Bonanza Christmas album, which was an inexplicable but integral part of the Christmases of my childhood. At the end of the evening, we had a glowing, sparkling tree in the living room, with the bald side tucked up against the TV stand.
This is our fourth Christmas as cohabitants, and the first year we bought a tree. We’ve always talked ourselves out of the expense, and the work, because we visit family for the holiday and reckoned we wouldn’t be able to enjoy it anyway. But this year, I put my foot down (and, since E is int he throes of finals, did just about all of the related work). I’m glad I did. The tree is lovely, and it makes our tiny, stupid apartment feel more festive than my paper snowflakes ever do.
More than that, every time E walks through the living room on a study break, he grins from ear to ear and tells me he loves the tree. Usually I’m the one pushing seasonal decorating and activities; he tolerates my whining about going pumpkin picking in the fall or to see the giant trees around the city. But his excitement about the tree has been a welcome reminder that the people in our lives can and will always surprise us.