“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


advent day 22: zen & the art of my landlord's christmas tree

i love the not trying so hard of this tree.
how perfect that makes it.
let's string some lights, someone said,
and they did.

i am reminded of my landlord's christmas trees ~
through the years both single & married.
never in a hurry to get one up,
never a bought one,
he who owns wooded property.
it is always almost a charlie brown tree,
but not really.
not quite.
it has driven girlfriends and his daughter
and wives crazy,
though i think the lovely, lovely katie has come to like it.
it is strung with those old colored lights i remember from childhood,
homemade tin ornaments,
and when you step into the house it feels like christmas.
there is the perfect fall of sunlight from the back windows
and the gifts under the tree aren't wrapped in matchymatchy paper,
and it feels relaxed.
i have always laughed and sympathized with the women
who wanted it flocked,
the lights all one color,
the ornaments to match,
a theme.
i understood.
but secretly,
or maybe not so secretly,
i have always liked it.
every year.

i like the space between branches,
the light around the lights,
the smell,
the looseness,
the not trying so hard.
i like the ease of it.
it feels the way christmas should.
it feels like santa might be stopping by.



  1. the tree sounds sweet

    christmas is truly in the details :)

  2. I love the simplicity here and the lack of striving is refreshing and makes for a truly beautiful tree.

    Santa will be pleased, I'm sure. ;)

  3. My Christmas decorating is somewhere in between. I like things to look good, but I have anti-decorating genes in me or something, because no matter what I do I can't make things look super spiffy the way other people can. But I am okay with this. We have a small tree that is put on top of a table (otherwise the cats would climb in it and break it)and is decorated with a strange combination of Star Wars ornaments, clay ornaments, and ornaments that I have made. And then there is Juan, the Christmas Monkey, surrounded by a wreath of red berries, that hangs on the wall opposite the tree. It is inexplicable and indescribable, and it would horrify many people including my mother and sisters-in-law. But Juan is fun and festive, and very much us. =)

  4. i always hope that's what people think of my tree...oh i really hope they do :)

  5. Oh the spirit of the season is definitely what counts. I know Santa will not miss your landlord.

  6. i am so not this loose. i want all blue or all this or all that or all nothing. it may be a girl thing - who knows? - but it's why i always sympathized over the years with the other women in his life. but his tree looks good and there is no stress - in fact there is fun - and i envy that.

  7. darlin', you have GOT the spirit of christmas deep in your soul this year! you know exactly what it's all about.

    i have felt your side-by-side blessing of advent all month. you have made a difference and enriched my life.

    a merry heart to you!

    love, graciel

  8. My husband and I have completely different tastes when it comes to Christmas . . . . he loves everything traditional and I love a more modern touch. Our tree is a mismatch of the two and I wouldn't have it any other way. No matchey matchey in our household. :0)

  9. Oh, I wish for a real tree! It has been years. This year my tree is a bit like the one you describe decoration-wise, because I didn't use any of my glass ornaments, and usually it is mostly those. so it looks spare and bare and a bit rustic, and i thought i would hate it, but i'm kind of loving it.

  10. I love this. Yes, I would love his tree, too. Though it sounds very, very different from my own. I know I'd love it, too. If only because I've seen it through your eyes.

  11. You're a wonderfully descriptive writer! I enjoyed this. ~dc

  12. I love your love for the imperfect. I love the way you describe the imperfect things, the way you give them new life. It helps heal my perfectionistic tendencies.


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