“It’s tough to be lonely on Christmas.” That thought kept swirling around my head when I bought this Christmas tree on a whim in 2003. I was shopping with my mom, having had just gone through a terrible break-up. I was doing some retail therapy to try to help heal the gaping hole in my heart. And that’s when I saw this tree.
My mom encouraged me to buy the tree and to start a tradition of decorating my own tree in my own home. “Someday you’ll decorate it with your own family,” she said. I doubted her but she gave me a spark of hope. Maybe this too would pass…maybe I would have the family I longed for…maybe other Christmas holidays would be better.
So I bought the tree and lugged it back to Chicago, up 35 floors (on an elevator of course). I gathered those close to me and invited them over for a tree trimming party. Everyone brought an ornament (I still have all of them) and we laughed and ate and drank and reveled in our twenty-something angst. My spark of hope that all would be well continued to grow.
Two years later, I would be decorating that tree with my boyfriend…who would become my fiancee, who would become my husband, who would become the father of our four children.
Fast forward 12 years and I just put up that same tree with my family of 6. I am moved to tears every year I put it up and see how much has changed. I see the hand print ornament from my eight year old when she was just 7 months. I see dozens of preschool perfected hand-made ornaments, made with an abundance of love only children can give. I see fancy gold balls left over from an Oprah Christmas show. I see my life…past, present, and future…all wrapped up in twinkly lights. And it is a good life.
To anyone lonely on Christmas, anyone who feels sad, depressed, downtrodden, disappointed, or simply alone. Have faith! Don’t lose hope! Every year won’t be like this. With patience and grace and a fortitude you didn’t know you had, you will get through this tough time. You are stronger than you think!
Let my little dusty Christmas tree be a shining example that hope lives. HOPE LIVES!
Merry Christmas to everyone! Check out some of our Christmas 2015 memories. We may not have much, but what we have is everything we need.