In my last year at college, my friends and I were facing Finals just before Christmas. This is a time of extreme stress in college life.
One night, we decided we needed a Christmas tree to cheer us up. As a group, we were NOT wealthy. So we went to the Christmas tree lot with the full intention of buying the cheapest tree on the lot.
We did not intend to spend more than $5 on this tree. We spend $7.50 after intense negotiation on a tree that would never have sold.
It was – well it was scraggly and not quite straight and there was a very large hole one side with no branches at all. But we loved it as our very own Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.
We took the tree to my friend’s uncle and he provided us with an old stand and cut the bottom as is customary.
We then went to our rooms and took down the Christmas lights we had used to decorate our rooms and strung them with abandon around our lopsided tree.
We popped popcorn and spent hours stringing it. We cut out paper snowflakes and wrote sweet notes to each other on them.
And then we got all of our bedding from our various rooms and had a tremendously enjoyable sleep over in the light of our Gorgeous Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.
That was the best tree I ever had. It was beautiful. It was spontaneous and it was about doing something with people you love to make a thing that in many ways represented the love we felt for each other.
For me that is what Christmas will always be. Not gifts. But the making of something together. The experience of being with people you love to make something that means that love.
I wish I had a picture of that. But alas, I did not go to college in the era of cellphones. If there was a picture, and there may have been, it is gone.