22 December 2014

Holiday traditions

Christmas in the early 90's.
I'm the friggin adorable short one in the front.
At the risk of sounding like a completely spoiled child, I have to say that at thirty-one years old, I am completely devastated that my father's house will not have a Christmas tree this year.

I called home this morning to tell my dad how excited I am that I don't have to go to work on Christmas Day (normal protocol for salaried management with the company I work for is that we each would take turns making sure that the freezers and refrigerators are holding temperature, and that there are no issues in the store. No one's broken in, the doors are secure, and the like). We found out that this year, that is no longer a requirement. This meant that I could go home earlier than I had planned. I was telling my dad how excited I was that I could now get to his place in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, and put presents under the tree as if Santa had stopped by.

"There's no tree."
"What? I told Joe (my favorite brother) to make sure the tree is up and the stocking are out so that Santa can come."
"No, we're not having a tree."
"What? You need to get it up before Christmas."
"NO. NO TREE."

I'm assuming that there will be no tree because for the first time in over forty years, there will be no children in the house on Christmas Day. I understand the logic (if that is the logic at all), but it actually made me sad. I almost cried when he told me, and have actually shed some tears this evening over it.

I am thirty-one years old, and I cried because my dad refuses to put up the Christmas tree in his house this Christmas. I cried because I don't understand how Christmas can be Christmas without a tree full of ornaments in my dad's living room.

I didn't even understand why I was so upset, until I was driving home from work tonight and thinking about it again. I actually find myself debating about whether I want to go home or not. It wouldn't be the first year I missed a Christmas at home, and working in retail, I am sure that it wouldn't be the last either. I realize that I am upset because of what it means. For the first time in over forty years, there will be no tree with presents under it. There will be no angel that my mom's mom and my dad picked out together, over a decade before I was born. There will be no defined place to lay presents underneath. There will be no ornaments that I've known for my entire thirty-one years. There will be no ornaments that my nephew and nieces have made at school these last several years, with their toothless grinning school photos glued in a sea of glitter and construction paper.

One of the big draws to going home is that my life is crazy. I've had fourteen addresses in four states in the last decade. Absolutely nothing has stayed the same in my life. My group of friends has evolved with the passing years, boyfriends have come and gone, I've jumped from apartment, to house, to another apartment, to a hotel room where I lived for a month - I've been all over the place. Even when I go back home to visit, nothing is the same. After I moved out, rooms were painted, bathrooms were remodeled, new furniture was bought, appliances were replaced with newer models. Everything changed, as everything tends to do. But somewhere amidst all of the changes was the Christmas tree. And now, it won't be there, and I'm not sure that I'm ready to let go of the one thing that reminded me that everything was going to be okay.

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