I just decorated my Christmas tree. I gave in and bought a small artificial tree, which was honestly quite hard for me to do. My whole life we have had live Christmas trees, and I have many fond memories of traipsing through the snow at my grandparents house to find the perfect tree. There was always a ton of snow (not 60 degrees out like it was today), and we had to clomp along behind my father. He made the footprints and we had to try to follow them or we would sink into the snow. Add to that my brother (the trouble maker) throwing snow balls or just pushing me and my sister into the snow - believe me, I was 100% innocent ;-). My dad likes to say that we always ended up picking the tree closest to the house, after wandering around for an hour or so, but what amazing memories. We would then go in and my grandmother had hot cocoa for us.
Once we got the tree home and set up, we would proceed to decorate, and bicker lovingly about whose homemade angel was put on the top. Even to this day, I wonder how the bulb with my brother's name remains almost perfectly intact, while my sister and I have bulbs that are coming apart. But they all still go on the tree, along with the bird for good luck and other memorable ornaments.
Other decorating memories are connected to my Gram (on my father's side). My sister and I always helped her decorate her tree, which was always an adventure in itself. Each decoration had a memory attached to it. I hung many of those decorations on my tree tonight, and it made me remember and smile (and cry a bit). I even have her manager under my tree.
So even though an artificial tree feels like cheating a bit, I have mine up with all of those decorations and memories connected to it. I'm sad remembering those I can't celebrate with this year, but I am also so thankful for the many holidays with them, and I am excited for the new traditions that come each year, thanks to all of the wonderful people who have entered my life.