We had moved into a new home which was exciting for all of us. It wasn’t huge by any means, but each of our three boys would have their own room for privacy. There were palladium windows with views of the street below from where our house was perched on the hill with woods behind it.
The minute I saw the house I knew just where my tree would go. I’d put it in front of the tall windows in the living room facing the woods under the fourteen-foot ceiling. I was overjoyed at the prospect of having a huge tree to do it justice. So when Christmas rolled around we went to hunt for the perfect ‘tall’ tree for that spot. We ended up coming home with a huge twelve footer. My husband kept reminding me it might be too big, but for me, the dreamer, it wasn’t tall enough!
What I didn’t mention was it didn’t quite fit into our old tree stand that always held our usual seven-foot tree. I hadn’t thought of that at the moment I’d spotted that impressive-looking fir. The five of us stood there looking at the tree resting on the hardwood floor trying to figure this out.
Never tell a woman it won’t fit.
I said to my husband, “Simple. Let’s cut a large chunk off the base.”
“Might work,” he replied, leaving to retrieve his saw.
That tree trunk was huge and heavy. It had taken all five of us to drag it in the front door. We weren’t dragging it outside again. We were cutting it in place on the hardwood floor.
Hey, that’s what vacuums are for: moments like this, right?
After much sweating and sawing, about a foot was removed. We all strained and grunted, but managed to fit it into place in the tree stand, which strained under the weight of it. To our amazement, it held. We all cheered and began decorating it. When it was done it looked majestic and magical.
Pleased with the end result, I went to the kitchen to make dinner while the boys set the table for me, and my loving husband vacuumed up glitter and sawdust at the base of the tree. The tree lights were left on so I could turn and see through the archway from the kitchen table our beautiful tree.
We were busy laughing and talking when suddenly we heard a crash. We turned, gaping at the spectacle. The tree had toppled over. We jumped up, hustled over to it, and with grunts and groans, set it upright.
My husband checked the base. A screw was loose. He retightened it. I observed the damage: a few broken ornaments and some loose garland. To my relief, the broken ones were not any of my older, cherished ornaments.
We then returned to the kitchen to eat our dinner. But within minutes, we heard another loud crash. The tree had fallen again. We hurried over and repeated the same process of uprighting it, but this time my husband used a wrench to tighten all the screws at the base, which had come loose.
“I guess the added weight of the ornaments didn’t help,” I said, as I surveyed the damage on the floor. Although saddened by more broken ornaments, none of them were my prized ones. Again, we cleaned up and returned to our dinner. I stared at that tree for a full minute. It held.
The others were already talking and laughing. Every once in a while I took a covert glance back at the tree that was still thankfully holding its own. I finally relaxed and resumed eating and joined in on their dinner banter.
But then the unthinkable happened: another loud crash.
I dropped my head into my hands as tears began to fall. “I can’t do this.”
I couldn’t bring myself to look. The odds that my cherished ornaments survived this last fall: impossible. I wanted to pass them on to my children and their children. Overwhelmed with the tree’s beauty, I’d chosen one that was too tall and heavy for our tree stand, and with the added weight of all the ornaments, it became top heavy. A major blunder on my part.
I heard the scraping of everyone’s chairs but mine. I couldn’t bring myself to move and face the disaster. I felt physically sick. All I heard were grunts, whispering then some hammering, and finally silence.
Then I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder and opened my eyes and turned to see my youngest smiling. “Dad fixed your tree, Mom! We helped!”
I sighed and forced a smile. “We let’s see what you guys did!”
He dragged me over to the others standing in front of the upright tree.
My middle son pointed to the window frame, grinning. “Look!”
Then my oldest son said, “Dad wired the tree to the window frame.
My husband stepped forward. “This time it’s not going anywhere!”
“But I’m afraid to look closer,” I said frowning, teary-eyed, as I heard the crunching under my feet and everywhere around us.
That’s when everyone laughed then said, “Look down!”
I did, then up to the tree, and then back down to the floor again, my mouth agape. None of the broken ones were my cherished prizes from my youth. Not only had they survived that highway broken ornament box disaster, (in my 1st Christmas story) now this. How could that possibly be?
My family came close and hugged me. Then we all stared at our tree.
I touched each child, kissed my husband then eyed my old ornaments.
I guess Christmas miracles come in all sizes and shapes.
Next up: my 3rd Christmas tale, the one from hell. To be continued…