I love plugging in the Christmas tree lights each day and smelling the balsam that still emanates from it. It's ever so subtle now that it's been up for a couple of weeks, but if I am deliberate and sneak in close enough, there it is, wafting up from deep within the dark green needles.
Our lights are gold this year. I change the color of the lights every year because I like something different. This year's "theme" is gold and bronze, in honor of the packages of frankincense, gold, and mir that were carried by the Wise Men to the Christ child in the dessert so many years ago.
You can't really tell that our tree has a color theme though, even though there are plenty of brown, bronze, and gold ornaments. Our tree has become over-run with personal ornaments. Since Mark and I moved in together in 2004 we have gotten a "couples" or "family ornament" from "Our First Christmas Together 2004" to a house with 4 snowmen in front of it with each of our names hand-written on the snowman's stocking caps and 2009 on the chimney. We have many (well, 5 actually) variations of the "couples/family ornament." Plus, Peanut and Angel have each gotten their own individual ornaments since 1995 for Peanut and 1998 for Angel. That's a lot of dog-houses and little fish with names and years stenciled in. Those really throw off the "theme" of a tree, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I would take the craziest, most eclectic, all-animal-ornaments tree any year over a tree that was "perfect": matching, beautiful, elegant and cold and impersonal. My life is a bit chaotic, why shouldn't that be reflected in my tree? I think I try to force the "theme" to create some sense of control or normalcy or "behavior that people expect" from me. I watch White Christmas and want so badly to have the house decorated like a beautiful inn from Vermont every year, but it never is. I've got a bronze-ish tree with gold lights, angel hair over green lights and a collection of Santa Clauses on the entertainment center, and the Nativity scene in 3 snow globes surrounded by red beads on a glass shelf. You don't even want to hear about my husbands outside decorations of lights and wreaths and bells. It's not something I can picture Rose Mary Clooney singing around. But that's what DVDs are for: I can sit back in the golden glow of my eclectic tree and spend my time counting my blessings...or washing my hair with snow.