When I was growing up, putting up the Christmas tree (and then taking it down) was a hassle. Not so much for myself, but for my sister who was often tasked to ‘build’ the Christmas tree, and once Christmas was over, ‘deconstruct’ the Christmas tree. I was thinking it would have been most meaningful if more family members were roped in to ‘build’ the tree!

All these years, still withholding this memory within me, I really did not want to go through those same arduous efforts.

I remember at my first matrimonial home, I did have a tree with all the twinkling lights, shiny baubles and maroon ribbons with its golden edged trimmings delicately weaving up and around its branches. True enough, putting it up was exhilarating (that rush of childhood splendor that finally was). But, later taking it down was a tedious affair. I was reliving the tedium of a childhood memory past, intertwined with an aspirational want, to be like one of those families who built things together.

Then came putting the decorations back in their boxes, and having a place to store these packages until the next appropriate season arrived; this was regarded at best another chore. It was a one-man show for me for home work, and the children were still very young. After that first attempt, I never put up the tree again.

Instead I have since, constantly, been contemplating how to make traditional family activities more manageable. Such a conviction was made more palatable as Christianity was not my current family’s religion.

At my second matrimonial home, which was a smaller residence (less than a thousand square feet), we bought a small tabletop Christmas tree. As my husband had designed our home, there was a need to maintain a ‘style’ – a shiny glitzy sparkly silver tree would never have entered my mind if not for a ‘interior designer’ beside me advising me on the ‘best’ tree for our home. Nonetheless, I chose to bring ‘this little fella’ with me because its branches were malleable for me to hang little Christmas odds and ends on it. I was elated. I had at last a representation of Christmas I could cope with in maintaining our home.

In our 12th year of stay at the current home, I attended a community church service where they invited the attendees (after the service) to take as many handcrafted doves as they wished from the Christmas tree in front of its stage in the hall. My heart was flushed with love and goodwill of the like, at the Church’s thoughtful gesture to spread His love within the community (till this day I have these doves because they are meaningful).

That day after service I arrived home and immediately hung up the doves on my silvery glittery tree. Its meaningful words of “Love”, “Faith” and “Joy” would be good to hold forth in one’s mind. I was in my forties then and becoming more introspective.

This year (2022), after being much exhausted from daily evading a biological plague (the Covid-19 certainly felt like one), and which has turned lives upside down, revisiting these words on the doves which had been kept tidily stored in a storage cupboard for ‘Christmas’ ornaments, helped to ground me and therefore spread these personal feelings to the family.

Against this context I finally built a Christmas tree I knew I could keep up with in the years to come. I placed a few doves on each sparkly branch and stood back to admire my creation. Still thinking it needed some ‘magical’ lights I rummaged through my box of personal mementoes to uncover fairy lights I had kept behind from a gift from a relative.

I felt happy. I was particularly flushed with a quiet sense of victory I had not given up on a conviction: a vision I held true as a carer that there simply are acts of tradition I (personally) cannot uphold persistently.

This year I bestow a sense of goodwill and serenity to all carers during a holiday season.

Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year to all my readers and thank you for always following my blog to read recent articles. I promise to publish four homemaking articles in 2023.

Do spread the good word!