Goodbye Little Tree

By C.M. DuBose

Charlie Brown Tree

I purchased my first Christmas tree at the age of 26.

Living 200 miles away from my family, I wanted to declare my independence by making my own “holiday cheer.”  Off to Target I ventured, determined to make this work within my skimpy $75 budget.

An hour later, I returned home with what my boyfriend would later dub “The Charlie Brown tree,”  a handful of ornaments and some garland. I placed the tree in the only place it would fit in a 704 square-foot apartment –the door to my patio. I adorned my fireplace with stockings and garland and lit up the living room every night for the next two years.

I was proud.

When we purchased our home (now double the size of our apartment), we took “The Charlie Brown tree” and set it up in our dining room. For three years, the tree stood in our front window, lighting up our home–in lieu of dining room furniture. Last year, it even hosted my newborn daughter’s first special ornament –a glass bulb with her name and DOB.

But this year, things changed.

On December 1, I ventured to my garage to gather decorations and begin our home’s transformation.  My tree was gone. My husband (the boyfriend mentioned above) said that in January, “we decided” to throw it out when we took down our decorations.  I don’t remember that decision but I was a new working mom who was sleep-deprived and hungry so maybe, just maybe, in a moment of weakness I did –I agreed to let my “holiday cheer” be placed on the curb next to dirty diapers and newspapers.

I was devastated.

I made countless trips to the garage to hunt for my little tree, pined over it while hanging stockings and discussed its ‘disappearance’ with anyone who would listen, including co-workers.

One night, as I watched my one-year-old daughter delight in the lit garland and bows handing from our bannister, I realized I had to let the tree go. There was too much at stake.

The “Charlie Brown tree” had served its purpose. I had to step my game up. My daughter might only be one but the holidays now belonged to her.  Christmas needed to be about more than a tree. What about time with her family? What about traditions reserved just for her and mommy and daddy? How could I create those if I continued to worry about a metal tree?

I revel in the fact that Christmas is my favorite holiday –growing up it meant homemade cookies, the smell of fresh pine throughout the house, Christmas music 24/7, and time with “My Gram” and mom. I want my daughter to have those memories. On Saturday, with our home still sans tree, we ventured to Lenox Mall to ride The Pink Pig, an Atlanta tradition for more than 50 years. As we chugged around the track passing Christmas trees and silly mirrors she squealed and clapped her hands –now that is the stuff traditions are made of.

So, R.I.P little tree. Hello new holiday memories.


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Giving thanks

I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  For wonderful family and friends.  For a stable job.  For good mental and physical health.  For unconditional love from an amazing man.  For online shopping to avoid ridiculousness this weekend.

And for not having to prepare a damn dish today.

Last year, we hosted dinner for eight people, including us.  It was my first time, hosting Thanksgiving, making dressing, roasting a turkey, etc.  Our friend Max dubbed it ‘Young People’s Thanksgiving 2011’.

Thanksgiving with a nickname… I was nervous.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  In the past my mom’s family used it as an unofficial family reunion.  We had Thanksgiving in Chicago, Houston, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Orlando.  Memories of delicious food and heartwarming fellowship is what I associate with this holiday.

Last year I wanted to provide that experience for our guest.  I made the turkey, dressing (one vegetarian friendly, one not), a chocolate caramel tart, strawberry mold and brussels sprouts (which I will never make again).  Friends brought homemade rolls, salad, mac and cheese, pie, sweet potato souffle and green been casserole.

Thanksgiving 2011 spread

Thanksgiving 2011 spread

I also went for a walk in the woods and got a centerpiece.  I found a fallen branch, that I sprayed with disinfectant (made sense in my head at the time), and surrounded it with candles.   Luckily, Max took some pictures on his phone.

Thanksgiving 2011 table

Thanksgiving 2011 table


Table with mood lighting

Table with mood lighting

We had a great time.  I hope to do it again.  But this year, my significant other is working, therefore I am headed to a friend’s place.  I asked twice if I needed to bring anything and was told no.  So I am going to show up with some wine and get it in.

I hope you have a relaxing and joyful Thanksgiving.


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