Trimming the Tree


We lit a “fire.”


Andy watered our tree, which he picked out on his own as it was bitter cold the night we bought it. Sophie and I sat in the car, blowing on the cold windows and then running our fingers down the glass.

Then Sophie got tired, Andy and I somehow got into a philosophical/theological discussion that didn’t end well, and we all went to bed.


But the next morning, we decorated our tree.


Sophie would reach out to touch a branch, and then quickly pull her hand away. She still does this, every time I show her different ornaments on the tree (which I do every day).



I’ve been pregnant the last two Christmases. This is the first one I’ve actually seen the lights on our tree reflected in two soft, baby brown eyes. Every night I show Sophie the various ornaments on our tree, like the gold Rudolph reindeer with “Kara Beth 1979” engraved on it, the glass ball with our dried wedding flowers in it, the Biltmore ornament from Katy and Tom, the many ornaments my grandma gave me every Thanksgiving, the many ornaments family made me during a Christmas-themed wedding shower, and the many ornaments Andy and I have exchanged over the years. I show her the tree topper Andy grew up with, the stockings my mom made, the ceramic and wooden Santas passed down to me, and “The Nutcracker” souvenir program books from latter years.

I have been so excited to share this, show this, explain this. I know I have a few years before letters to Santa, cookies and carrots on the hearth, and the wide-eyed surprise at seeing ballerinas dance out from underneath Mother Ginger’s skirt come into play, but still, this season, I’m happy. I’m content with watching someone new experience the small things—the prickly feeling of a Christmas tree branch, the sound of sleigh bells on the door and the way colored lights reflect in glass ornaments on the tree.

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” —Norman Vincent Peale