Another Holiday Story

Missing my family at Christmas.

Christmas is almost here and everyone’s getting excited and for my part a little sad. I’m sad because I won’t be able to spend Christmas with my extended family. When you live a state away and it’s winter and the weather’s bad, well do the math, you just don’t travel and chance an accident. So, even though I will have my husband and children to celebrate with, I will be missing my parents and grandparents and all that comes with celebrating Christmas there.

Grandma’s criticism; not just for the food.

As I wrote about in a previous post, I will miss my grandma complaining about her meal and how awful it is.  There is something else I will miss about Christmas with my grandma, however.  Besides criticizing her food, my grandma criticizes her Christmas tree.  Yes, her Christmas tree.

Every year and almost without fail, my grandmother will tell us how ugly, or plain, or small, or misshapen, etc, her tree is.  There is always something wrong with her trees, according to her but according to us there is nothing wrong with her trees.  In fact, my grandma has always had some pretty cool and interesting trees.

The trees.

When I was younger she would put on all of these old-fashioned ornaments that she had had for many years.  They were fun because they were cool shapes and colors, they were very 50’s-ish. She would say the ornaments were too old and too plain!  Then there were the years that her trees were done all in one color.  She had some neat ornaments that were red and gold balls and had some sort of velvety stuff on them and the whole tree was done in white lights and the red and gold ornaments.  Grandma would lament that she should have done something more colorful.  I also liked the years my grandparents had flocked trees. These trees were flocked white to look like snow and grandma had blue and silver balls and even white dove ornaments.  Grandma was never happy with them though.  She would fret about whether she should have done a flocked tree, did it have too much flocking or not enough, she should never do another flocked tree again because they were messy and on and on.

Other years my grandma and grandpa would have a live tree.  Those trees were always a problem because she would worry about them getting enough water, keeping them alive until they could be planted and again, maybe she should have gotten a different kind of tree.

Then there were the years of the non-flocked, cut tree that should have been some sort of fir if they got a pinion (pinions are a type of pine that grows in only high desert areas of the west, such as southern Idaho and northern New Mexico) because the pinion wasn’t pretty and trimmed up like a fir tree from town, they were very sappy and messy or they were too full.  The firs on the other hand were too skinny or didn’t have good branches to hold ornaments or didn’t smell as wonderful as the pinions.

Nothing says Christmas like grandma’s opinions on her trees.

Again, all of her trees have been fine, some were very cool trees and every year was an adventure because you never knew what tree my grandparents would do.  Admittedly some were better than others (aren’t they always?) but they were always fun, beautiful and uniquely my grandparents.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about my grandma’s penchant for worry, criticism and complaint, I enjoy hearing what this years tree problem is and it wouldn’t feel like Christmas without grandma being hard on her meal, hard on her tree, hard on herself.  It’s part of who she is and amuses those around her in how predictable she is and conversely in how unpredictable her comments might be.  You know she’s going to have something to say, you just never know what it will be and that says Christmas to me!


Not one of Grandma’s, one of mine.  Just wanted to add a little holiday cheer!

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