Birds, Holiday

December Birds

For many years when I lived alone, I didn’t have a Christmas tree. I would get some boughs and hang some bells, but saw no reason to untangle the lights and grapple with a Christmas tree stand. (I still don’t get how something with so few parts can be so specially designed to test one’s holiday cheer.)

After I moved in with Stewart, I started thinking about putting up a tree again. The first year, I  suggested we might get a small one and put it over there, in the corner, where it would be out of the way. I may have been testing him some because, in the beginning, he was pretty Scroogey about Christmas. (We both were, really. Many years of living alone and/or celebrating holidays by rote can do that to a person.) He let me get the tree, but he never really looked at it — or so I thought.

The next year, I said I thought maybe the tree wasn’t worth the effort, that I’d probably skip it. A barely perceptible look crossed Stewart’s face.

Do you want the tree? I asked.

I liked the tree, he said.

I liked it, too, I said.

And that’s how two odd birds came home for the holidays.

One last thing. (There always seems to be one, doesn’t there?)

All I can see when I look at the photo above is that cattywampus icicle, but I decided not to take another picture. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m being lazy or because I’m affirming that the holidays are best when when the icicles are allowed to be askew.

I hope your celebrations are perfectly imperfect and profoundly joyful.



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  • Reply meg- grow and resist December 23, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Oh Shae, I love all the birds! It is perfect! And, I’m glad you left the icicle askew! “Perfect” is boring!

  • Reply Dawn December 24, 2011 at 5:25 am

    Your story sounds so similar to my own! We’ve gone many years without a Christmas tree because it didn’t seem “worth the trouble”. Somewhere along the way we discovered it’s worth every bit. This year have a live tree in a pot that’s out on our deck and we’ll plant next year. I hope your tree is part of many wonderful memories this year!

    (And the birds are fabulous! Where is that last pair from?)

    • Reply Shae January 1, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      Hmmm . . . just turned them upside down and all I find is the artist’s name and a date: Diana Sandoval ’87. I wish I could remember who gave them to me. They’re kind of adorable, aren’t they?

  • Reply janis December 24, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Love the tale of two odd birds… and no need to straighten the icicles, much better askew. Happy holiday to you, Stewart, and your flock of sweet doves. Xo

  • Reply Julia December 24, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I love your tree, and how you feel about it. I feel sort of the same way. When I took out all my ornaments, I found I had special feelings about most of them. And even the ones that didn’t garner a special feeling I at least know their provenance. Here’s to a wonderful holiday for both of you, cattywampus icicle askew and all! (Btw, what does cattywampus mean? Guess I could look it up, huh?)

  • Reply Julia December 24, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I looked it up, my new favorite word! I guess my statement above was a bit redundant, then, yes? ; )

  • Reply Shae January 1, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Can’t believe it’s already New Year’s Day and the tree is coming down. Tucking away each bird in its little box or bag. Happy New Year, everyone. Let’s all remember not to sweat the cattywamposity in 2012. (Now, Jules, try looking up that one.) :-)

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