Monday, December 14, 2015

My Return to Tacky

I've had a fake tree for years. Can't be bothered with the fuss of a real tree. I always forget to water it. And even during the years that I've diligently nurtured a real tree, it was dead by mid-December. So, fake it is.

This year I wanted a real one. I don't know why; I suppose I simply got tired of putting the tree together and looking at all the space in between the branches.


For years, I dreamed of a tree with silver balls and red and silver bows. Instead, my trees--both fake and real--were decorated with handmade macaroni frames housing an awkward Polaroid Instamatic picture of one of my children, anywhere from Nursery School to fifth grade. Various other hand crafted ornaments, some missing pieces came out each year. When the kids moved out, I still brought the same ornaments to the tree. I think I felt obligated. You know...tradition and all that.




Last year I decided to make my dream come true. Sparkling white lights danced around the glittery silver balls. Red and silver ribbon trailed down from the top where a big bow rested instead of an angel. The tree cried "Christmas The holiday season is here!" 

Actually, that's not true. Not at all. Oh, my fake tree cried. It wept. In fact, it screamed. 

It screamed, "Macy's!"



Yes, my tree was pretty. But sterile. I really didn't like it. Not at all.

What I thought I wanted wasn't at all what I expected.

I thought I'd find joy and satisfaction in something that I saw in stores, in magazines, and in movies. 

If I make my tree look like that, I can BE that. 

But that wasn't who I was.

What I really wanted was what I had--what I deemed tacky last year in search of something more fitting, more glamorous, more...me.

But it wasn't at all tacky. It was familiar. Meaningful. Personal. Do we put up and decorate a Christmas tree to impress others or to enjoy with our family?

Fast forward to the present. We got the real tree. Put it in the stand. I even bought colored lights, deviating from my strict policy of white lights only.

I dragged all the decorations up from the basement, and there in one box were all the silver balls, white lights and fancy silver and red ribbons/bows. I reached in to take hold of the ribbon, and my hand stopped. 

What was I doing? I hated this last year.


I found myself waxing nostalgic. I looked at my little boy with the missing front teeth in the glittery foam frame.



That little boy is now a man (with very nice teeth, I might add). 

I took out the heart-shaped hand made wood frame with an impromptu picture of my little girl with a disheveled look taken at playgroup. 



That disheveled little girl is now a woman who would never go out of the house with hair like that! 

I chuckled.

Silver balls can't compare to that.

Suddenly, I was excited to use the "old" decorations--but only because I now wanted to, not because I felt any sort of obligation. I picked through the years of ornaments and chose the ones I wanted to decorate with. Some reminded me of the folks who gave them to me. Some were pretty. Some--pretty goofy. My eclectic tree was real in more ways than one.

It was me.

I had returned to what mattered most. What was important. Who I really am. I'm not a polished silver ball and red bow kind of tree/woman. I'm an eclectic mish-mosh with no particular theme kind of tree/woman. A little homey, a little tacky, a little crafty with a silver ball thrown in here and there...but mostly, a lot of love, loyalty, and devotion.

So often we aspire to be someone who looks good on someone else, or have something that looks good in the store. We take it home, we put it on, we show it off...yet, it doesn't fit right, doesn't look right, and doesn't feel right. 

Like a fake tree with sterile ornaments.

We realize that it wasn't at all what we expected. And maybe we really didn't want it all that much. 

The things that we once held so dear often become the very things we long to escape, only to beckon us back with a stronger bond.

Is there something you've tried to change or escape from, only to discover that when you got what you wanted, it wasn't at all what you expected it to be? It's never to late to return to that which beckons you home again. 

Return to who you are this Christmas.



Because there's no place like home.


Blessings Along the Path,
Mare


sharing this post with some of these lovelies

41 comments:

  1. Hi Mare! Love the "you" tree! Even with the multicolor lights. I'm a stickler for the white lights only. But, your tree gives me pause to consider stepping out of my box with multicolor lights next year on one of my trees. I keep three. All fake. None full size. Each a different theme expressing a different aspect of me . . . Of Ed, too. I may post pictures. Haven't done a post on my trees. Odd, that. Great object lesson, as always. Hope you are enjoying all sorts of merry and bright in the season.
    Joy!
    Kathy

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  2. It's funny, but once again you and I are thinking similar thoughts - decorating. A couple of years ago we got a "fake" tree, I talked about that today. But, I also talked about how we all have a certain way of making our Christmas tree our *own* - personal and meaningful. So, though a Macy's tree is beautiful, you're right - it can be a bit sterile unless we add all those special and eclectic bits of our own lives.

    What's something that I wanted more than anything, and then found out it wasn't *all that*? Well, unfortunately, it involved a relationship years ago. I wanted to be with this person to the point of unthinking infatuation. And, well, when we finally got together, I quickly discovered that the *shiny ornament* wasn't who I thought he was, and the whole thing didn't "fit" me at all. In fact, it changed so many things about my life that I had to have the Lord's help to dig out of it all.

    It's much better being the person God created you to be!

    Even if *you* is a mish-mosh of glitter and popcorn strings and macaroni and yarn and awkward family photos...

    T rue
    A uthentic
    C olorful
    K oo-koo
    Y O U!!

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. Sharon, as usual, you come up with the greatest responses. Too bad blogger doesn't send them to you, so you probably won't read this, but I LOVE my tacky acronym! Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. I always come back, Mary. (I just won't go away...!!)

      Glad you liked the acronym!!

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  3. Oh, yes. We've also got our homemade ornaments, and they definitely say "home." Thank for sharing your story, and for the great application

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    1. Thank you for reading, Michele. Always good to see your comments here.

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  4. I grew up with a real tree too; Fake does take some getting used to. I like how you chose to stay true to yourself and the title of this post is great. very catchy! God bless and happy holidays

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    1. Thanks, Jenny. I grew up with a real tree, and moved to a fake one off an on over the years. I do like real, but fake has its place too. It's all a matter of preference. Just like people. We're all different with different preferences.

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  5. Mary, I just love this post! I love that it's the personal, meaningful decorations that mean the most to you. I'm like that as well. My favorite ornaments are ones that my sister made at a Pinterest party. So, know the feeling and really appreciate your message today. Thanks so much for sharing! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas! GOD bless you, beautiful friend!

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    1. Thank you, Tai! I suppose I'm returning to who I really am after all these years!

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  6. You know, we have two trees- a pretty tree and an ugly tree. For some reason, I always prefer the ugly one. It has more personality ;) Great post!

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  7. Just what I needed to read! I don't have a Macy's tree. On my tree, nothing matches but it is all "us"--places we've been, kindergarten photos, handmade ornaments, etc. Thanks for the confirmation that it's okay not to go to a trendy tree, just like we're not to be trendy people. Just be ourselves! Thanks, Mary.

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    1. yes, exactly, Lisa! Sometimes we need to "try out" the trend before we realize that we don't like it.

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  8. Mare, I loved your post! There have been years I've yearned for one of those pretty, well-decorated trees. But, this year, it really struck me, as we decorated our tree with our boys. So many of our ornaments hold stories that re-tell the fabric of our family. A mishmash of kindergarten paper angels, a few picture-less frame ornaments (I always forget to print pictures to place in them!), some pretty ornaments, and some ornaments that may one day "disappear" when my attached-to-all-things son isn't aware.

    I loved your thoughts on being comfortable with who we are, who God designed us to be. This does reflect in how we live and decorate our days. Thanks for sharing this!

    **I'm visiting from the RaRa Linkup. :)

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    1. How we live and decorate our days-I love that, Jeanne! Thanks for visiting.

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  9. I live in a tropical country where pine trees are close to none so we've always had a fake tree.

    Your tree looks amazing. Great idea for using those ornaments.

    Enjoy Christmas!

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    1. haha, yeah, I suppose it would be a little tough, Lux. A fake tree has its place. Some years, I prefer it. Every year is different. You enjoy your Christmas too, Lux!

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  10. Oh my word was cracking up and relating all at the same time! I've missed reading you lately - I've been out of the blogging loop lately but always love to read you when I return. Merry Christmas my fellow kindred spirit.

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    1. Melody! I've missed you as well. We still have to collaborate sometime...sigh.

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  11. Such a beautiful post! It's so true that we can get caught up in what we think would be better only to realize that it's not right at all! Thanks for sharing such a great and real story with us. At this time of year it's really easy to get caught into wanting everything to look just right. By the way, I love your "tacky" tree, it's beautiful!

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    1. I rather like it too, Judy. And I don't really think it's tacky, but it was a catchy title. :-))

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  12. i love this story, your story, Mary! you helped me realize how our trees are a reflection of where we are in this season. next year's might be different, but right about now this is where we are.

    and all is calm, all is bright.

    merry Christmas to you, to yours!

    ;-}

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    1. Linda, thank you for stopping by to visit. I suppose the "lights" we choose to decorate our trees/lives also "reflect" who we are.

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  13. You, my friend, are never tacky! You are real and soft-hearted like the Velveteen Rabbit. I so love the authenticity and humbleness you share with us each week. I love how you poke fun at your lofty ambitions--because we are all like that, trying in vain to impress and failing miserably because we don't need to. The only audience we need to impress is the Lord! And I'd say He LOVES your tree, Mary, and your sweet heart! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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    1. Aw, thanks...as always...Beth. Someone used the word, "undramatic" the other day, and said, "Well you must know all about that word, being a theatre person,"...to which I replied..."I wouldn't know anything about the word, "UN-dramatic. Only dramatic." Totally unrelated, I know, but not. Christmas blessings!

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  14. I love your "real" tree and the message it brings about what's important in life AND in Christmas. Thanks also for visiting Kim's County Line from Tell His Story. I hope you get to enjoy Christmas with the grown-up versions of those cute little kids in the ornaments! Blessings to you and yours!

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    1. I should take pictures of the grown up children and make silly frames for them and compare. Or better yet, make a homemade frame, put a picture of myself in it, and give it to the kids for Christmas. Thanks for visiting, Kim.

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  15. This was a welcome respite this morning as I paused to read and smile with you. I totally understood where you were coming from, I could completely empathize with the wishing for different and then finding it really didn't fit.
    We have a real tree this year, and it is missing all the color-coded ornaments and frippery. Instead of our fake, near-perfect, scentless, fire-retardant monstrosity...we have a Frazier Fir, cut by our family and dragged by our kids through the tree farm, laughing (and if I am honest, a bit of complaining, too.) A tree that is missing a few branches (that we didn't see whilst it was standing up with the other trees looking glorious), and missing the angel on the top because it won't fit. :)
    Yet, I love it. It fits and isn't that the beauty of the message of Christmas? We fit because He came to be the missing pieces; or rather, the missing peace.

    I really enjoyed this post today! Thanks for sharing.
    Many Blessings,
    Dawn

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    1. That's perfect, Dawn! I love that-missing piece/peace.

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  16. Yes !!! Another real tree affectionado! I too load my tree with memories and loveable ornaments. The only concession I made to design this year was to eliminate the multitude of colors by decoupaging the balls so they would all match! Horray for real trees for real people! And Merry Christmas!

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    1. Those balls sound beautiful! My parents used to decoupage all the time. Love that look.

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  17. Beautiful post, Mary. I love this year's tree! It is beautifully decorated. Warm, inviting. It looks like a wonderful place to gather. Thanks for this encouragement to be real!

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    1. Thank you Dianne. I'm enjoying my tree this year, as I am enjoying Christmas in a way that I didn't for many years. Blessings and joy to you.

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  18. Finding the one who God created is such a blessing to ourselves as well as those who love us. Thank you, Mary, for sharing this wonderful truth through your tree. I love it and shall remember this visual in more ways than a Christmas tree.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda
    @ BeingWoven.org

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    1. Thank you, Linda. We are all unique, much like the trees we decorate.

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  19. I like your second tree much better. It was really pretty. It is funny that you shared this story because I looked at our tree this year and said it looks plain. We need something new and then I realized I like what it is becoming. Would love to see you share your story again this week at Sitting Among Friends. Have a Merry Christmas.

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    1. Jaime, I didn't see the linkup earlier. I'll hop over there now.

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  20. Stopping by from Sitting Among Friends party..I loved both trees but the 2nd one was less sterile and much more personal and I got it! The best thing..God loves the sterile us but oh to be comfy and be our true selves in him is just marvelous!

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  21. What a great look at being real and fake. We have no tree this year. We are in Arizona by ourselves. If we do this again I will need the tree. I miss it. Good thing I did bring the crèche scene my husband created from exotic wood. That's a blessing. But the reaity is we don't need a tree. We only need Jesus, right?
    Blessings,
    Janis

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