Have you ever had something that you held onto that you knew you shouldn't have? Eventually the time came for letting go. For me, the recent example of that was my old artificial Christmas tree.
My First Adult Christmas Thing
I had the tree in question since 1996. That was the year I graduated from college. So, that holiday season, I bought myself my very first tree. It was nothing special. It was probably around 7′ tall and fit nicely in our small apartment.
This was in the days before pre-lit trees. The tree was in layers. Each layer had about 7 or 8 branches that you stuck into the pole. They were all color coded at the end so you knew which ones went where.
The tree did well for me. It went up every single year. For all of the years when I was single, it was my only tree. I originally had a snowflake theme where most of my ornaments were snowmen.
There was one year after a breakup that I was not much in the holiday spirit. I still put up the tree and put the lights on. I just didn't put on the ornaments.
One of the cats that I used to have was a huge fan of Christmas. She actually got excited when the boxes came out. During the time the tree was up, her favorite spot was to lay underneath. When it came time to put the decorations away, she would purposefully get in the way. I know that she loved the tree, too.
It was always a very nice tree with a good shape. Because it went on in layers, I could always get lights on very evenly. I would put one layer of branches on, then put the lights on, and move upward. This was a trick my dad taught me. It allowed lights to go on further back in the tree, which is the secret to getting lots of lights on a tree and having it look good.
Signs of Age
After we moved into our house, we got a bigger tree as our main tree in the living room. Still, we started putting up multiple trees and this tree got relegated to the ‘second' tree. Then, we got a new tree for the family room and this became the ‘third tree' that got put in the dining room.
By now, the tree was around 15 years old and was showing signs of age. The tape on the box fell apart and had to be re-done. A few of the branches were broken. They had to be put towards the back.
The biggest issue was that the plastic needles started to fall off in mass quantity. Putting up and taking down the tree literally covered the floor with needles. In addition, one of the cats took a liking to licking up the needles. Since they weren't real, he'd throw up somewhere in the house. I think he thought this was a fun game. (It wasn't)
The original stand that the tree came with broke. The replacement stand never did the trick. It held it up but the tree was always crooked one way or another.
Finally Letting Go
My wife found a deal on a new tree and convinced me it was time to let go. We got a tree that matched another one we have. We definitely like the way it looks. Maybe in 10-15 years this tree will hold some nostalgia. But for now the new tree is the one that pushed out my history. Even though it was time to go, it was still a forlorn moment to discard the tree.
Of course the tree did give me one last smile. After the tree was taken out of the house, I grabbed the broom and dustpan, and swept up the trail of needles that fell from the box.
Thanks for the memories, old tree.
Readers, what have you let go of lately?