Merry Christmas from O Dock.
This is our Christmas tree for 2010.
If you read this blog, you probably wouldn't expect that I'd have a conventional Christmas tree, would you?
Actually, this may be more of a holiday tree than a 'Christmas' tree, since I don't really celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday - not that there's anything wrong with that.
I do like the spirit that everyone seems to get into at this time of year, despite their formal religious beliefs, and I think it's that spirit I choose to celebrate more than anything else. Life would sure be a lot easier to get through if people were as cheerful and forgiving throughout the year as they are now.
To make a serviceable holiday tree, you don't really need to start with a tree at all. Christmas trees are a lot like life. What you make of what you start with matters more than what you start with.
This year, we started with a seamstress' dress form.
Well, my wife did, actually. She is in charge of tree design.
I am in charge of counterproductive criticism and anything electrical.
It is really my wife who decided about 10 years ago that conventional trees are boring and that we should start with something as far away from a conventional tree as possible. I think that first year we started with a step ladder.
Over the years, we have started with department store mannequins, dinner jackets woven from plastic wreaths, a cheesy artificial tree that we completely stripped of all its plastic foliage, and one year, it was a piece of driftwood that looked like Charlie Brown's curiously comical conifer.
Another time, we paid homage to the surrealists and my wife did a painting of a tree that was titled, "This is not a tree", displayed on an appropriately illuminated artist's easel. That one backfired, though. Everyone left paintings under the tree that were entitled, "This is not a gift."
Even if you have never read any of my blog posts, one look at the old holiday 'trees' that have accumulated in our garage would convince you that I am someone best treated with a certain amount of caution.
This is probably my favorite time of year, though. I try to take a few days off from work and we spend some quiet time around the house sipping wine, eating chocolate, and admiring my wife's handiwork (which would not have come to fruition, remember, without my expert criticism). It is a time to slow down, consider where we have been over the past year, and where the next year may take us.
The problem is that I never quite get back to speed again in the new year after all of this slowing down. And in that, I may have discovered one of life's great lessons.
I'm beginning to think it is mainly Christmas that is responsible for the fact that I move a lot slower now than I did when I was 20 years old.