Memories of Trimming the Tree

Memories of Trimming the Tree

Eric with parents adn grandma on Christmas Eve

I’ve had a hard Holiday season this year for some strange reason, and I’m not entirely sure why.

While a few things aren’t where I’d like them to be, most things are pretty great. And the gratitude, faith, and love I have around me is pretty spectacular.

So why should I be experiencing a rash of bad dreams and a touch of melancholy?

I heard on NPR the other day, that while holidays are supposed to be about celebrating, we also often remember those who are gone – either from passing or simply passed from our lives. I think that may be a huge part of it.

While trimming the tree this year, I found myself having waves of sadness. At first it was the usual suspects: mom (who passed in ’97), friends I used to chat with, real vacation days playing video games or watching movies, even tons of cookies baking in the kitchen and milk cooling in the fridge. But upon reflecting some more, I’ve come to realize that it was more of losing the magic of the holidays.

At 47 years of age, as I hung the small parrot that was one of my mother’s first ornaments on her first Christmas trees as well as a small gold ornament of a drummer boy that was my first ornament, I was thrust through time remember all the years where I hung the same ornaments. All those years flooded back into my mind of a huge live pine tree with a root ball in a wash tub covered with a tree skirt atop a plywood train table. The small village that sprawled across the table with lights flickering inside each one, a small figuring of a skater on a mirrored ‘ice rink’  and a train circling it all. Tinsel reached out and shocked me with static electricity (after the lead tinsel was no longer used for obvious health concerns).

But most of all, it was the magic that my parents created for us each year.

And while I know that some of the ‘magic’ came at the cost of perpetuating the fibs that occur regarding the big jolly fellow, that they often went into debt and ran up credit cards to get presents, and probably didn’t get much for themselves some years, the sheer magic of waking up early, sneaking out to the living room, and seeing all the lights of the tree on with packages below the tree (or circling the train table) gave me enough memories for a lifetime of experiencing awe and wonder of Christmas.

While this is not a religious diatribe, it is an exploration of where can we experience that same awe and wonder as when we were children?

This what has me vacillating between happiness of all that I have and sadness of what I am trying to reclaim.

Some people believe it’s up to each of us to make great things happen in our lives, that we make our own miracles. Others wait or ask for something great to happen and ask for miracles. I swing back and forth between the two thoughts.

With only a few days until Christmas and only a day after Solstice, I think I’ll continue to revel in the present and still spend some time in the memories of the past, but I think it’s time to create the future that has the magic of both.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

MOMmy Rappings

MOMmy Rappings

MOMmy Rappings

Published in The MOMster Chronicles January Edition.

The relatives have gone, the decorations have been put away, the kids are all busy playing with their new games, toys or gadgets, and you’re basking in the romantic glow of the perfect gift your significant other gave you.

Or are you?

The holidays are some of the most stressful times on a relationship, no matter the level of intimacy you’ve reached. No matter if you’ve just started dating someone or celebrating your 25th wedding anniversary, there is one universal truth all women need to remember; we men aren’t always so bright.

Before anyone takes offense, let me rephrase that last statement; we men aren’t as detail oriented as women are.* So when you told your hubby last month that you’d REALLY like a forest green cashmere sweater, rest assured he only heard one of those four words. Maybe two.

Communication is paramount in any relationship. But in a romantic relationship, we can, after time, slip into ‘mind reading’ and assume what our partner wants, needs and desires.

The reality is that we often give what we want to receive. When unhappy, we tend to withhold what we often most want. A simple example is a hug. You give them and will generally get them back when you’re happy. But when you are unhappy, you withdraw, and others give you space just when you need a hug the most.

Gifts can reflect the same thing in a relationship. We give what we want to receive, give something that will make the other person happy (and thus ourselves), or we give what the other person says they want when they give us a list.

The best gifts are those that are unexpected and heartfelt. And it’s important to always think about why the gift was given to you from the other person’s perspective.

If you want that forest green cashmere sweater, go buy it yourself and expect nothing.

And when your guy gives you a forest green robe, slippers, a blue sweater and a red cashmere scarf, just stop and think how much he loves to see you comfy and cozy at home with him, how sexy you look in the sweater he got you, and how great he believes the cashmere must feel against your neck on a cold winter day.

Ahhhh. There’s that glow.

*Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School by John Medina

Written by Eric Huber
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(MOMmy Rappings is an article written for The MOMster Chronicles. Articles are posted one month later here. To subscribe and get the latest tips, information and help for moms, contact Megan Donley at