The annual tradition of finding my perfect Charlie Brown (CB) Christmas tree began in 2011 when my granddaughter joined me on this quest. I had moved into a condo after my divorce and had given away my large tree, so I decided to get a small (aka Charlie Brown) tree. She helped me choose the perfect table top tree.
Fast forward to 2017 and my granddaughter (age 8) as well as my grandson (age 5) now accompany me on these outings. This year we headed to the nearby Kroger’s which is the best shopping location for a CB Christmas tree.
My granddaughter spotted the perfect tree while we were still in the parking lot—and walked quickly towards it like a bee flying to honey. “Nana, this is our tree—it is a fat tree and we need a fat tree” she said. My grandson accepted the wisdom of her choice and soon we were home, decorating the tree with their felt ornament collection. (Nana is no fool—I do not have breakable ornaments.)
Once decorated, we went into the kitchen to make snack jars to give to their parents for Christmas. A few minutes later, I head this swoosh sound coming from the living room. As I was not expecting Superman nor Santa, I walked back to the living room to see where the sound came from.
Oh my gosh—the CB Christmas tree was down….. as in literally down….. it had fallen over. Ornaments were scattered about.
No problem, I thought, I will simply put it back up.
HA—as I tried to set the tree back on the table (which is really a large cooler with a white sheet over it) I realized that the CB Christmas tree kept leaning and it was not due to the weight of the ornaments—no, it was because the tree was growing crooked—which is why it kept leaning towards the right.
As this knowledge became evident, I did what any good Southern girl would do to solve a problem of this nature—I went upstairs, opened the closet, and grabbed my roll of duct tape.
I duct taped the tree stand to the cooler using so much duct tape that if the tree should choose to fall over, it would have to take the cooler with it. (I should have also filled the cooler with some heavy objects but that thought did not cross my mind until it was too late and the cooler was duct taped shut.)
I am proud to report that the duct taped CB Christmas tree has remained vertical (well, somewhat vertical) ever since.
Each night as I walk past the tree—the lights are shining brightly as it leans slightly towards the right—I find myself laughing out loud. I am laughing because 1.) I am amazed it is still standing and 2.) I remember the joy in my grandchildren’s voices as we picked out and decorated the tree.
I have had over the years many beautiful trees and have sat many nights looking at the lights on the various trees but I will confess….. I think this little CB Christmas tree may be my all-time favorite.
And why is that?
Because it is like me… and perhaps like you….. the lights shine brightly and it looks pretty good on the outside but in reality…. It has some problems—things are not so perfect—it had to be patched up to remain standing.
I understand about falling over and the need for getting patched up.
But my little CB Christmas tree can stand upright and shine brightly because it is held firmly in place by something that is tough and strong and will never let go of it. And each time I walk past this little tree, I am reminded about the importance of having something that holds you upright and prevents you from falling over…..and for me, that something has been my faith walk.
Since my divorce in 2009, my faith walk has held me firmly in place. Yes, there have been times that I have tilted away and fallen over… just like the CB Christmas tree… times where I pulled against the bonds holding me or tried to ignore they were there but in the end my faith journey has held me upright….just like the duct taped CB Christmas tree.
I realize that some of you may think that faith is a crutch—something you lean on but it can be easily kicked out from under you….. or, it is similar to a strong drink—faith can be used to dull the pain and the heartache but once it leaves your system, the pain returns.
Or, perhaps you think the Bible is merely made-up stories and faith is like believing in Santa Claus…for children only.
I understand your cynicism and doubts. I have had them myself.
The only thing I can say is that once you hear the voice of God speaking to you…. Once you meet Him in stillness….. then you understand the depth of His love and that He is real.
I am reminded of this as I sit looking at my CB Christmas tree and its beautiful lights….. and I am filled with a strength and hope for the future….. because I know the love behind the duct taped bonds of faith is strong and will never let me go.
This knowledge is important to me because this I am getting ready to ring in a new year. And I can honestly say that I welcome 2018…..I am eager for it to come….. I am determined for this to be a year of adventure ….. I want to embrace each day with a sense of wonder and joy….. I am determined for this to be the best year of my life (whatever that means!)
I know I can have this sense of joy and adventure because of the duct tape in my life—not the shiny silver kind that is hard to cut with scissors but the faith-inspired kind that holds onto my soul and never lets me go.
So, here’s to 2018….to you and to me….. to new adventures…. new challenges….. And to remaining upright through all of it.
Happy New Year…..
The Duct Taped Charlie Brown Christmas Tree