Posted by: mindyourknitting | December 3, 2009

‘Tis the season to be loony

I unapologetically, unabashedly love Christmas.  I love the lights, the decorations, the gathering of family, the shopping, the wrapping of presents, the baking, the food, the bearded guy in the red suit, the ruby-nosed reindeer, all of it.  Even the Grinch, that bad banana.  Thankfully my husband not only endorses my love of all holidays (especially this one), but is totally on board and often takes it one step further.  It’s a good thing, too, because I’m pretty sure my holiday hysteria is genetic, and here’s the evidence.  As promised in a previous post, I present to you the Giant Pumpkin The Size of a Medium-Sized Child and The Tree That Ate Christmas.  Actually, I don’t want to blow your mind all at once, so I’ll ease you into it. 

My parents always made a big deal over holidays – as a kid they really tried to make holidays special, and tried to outdo whatever they had done the year before.  That is how we ended up with a marching Scottish pipe band in full regalia at our Canada Day party one year.   It is also how, one autumn in my late teens,  the main feature of our Halloween decorations was this:  

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

To give you an accurate idea of scale, here is a medium-sized child standing next to it:  

The pumpkin ate her a short time later.


So you can imagine what Christmas was like when I lived at home.  I wish I had pictures of our outdoor lights – people used to give directions in our neighbourhood that included instructions like “turn left at the house with the Christmas lights.”  And when someone would argue that ALL the houses had lights, the person would say “Trust me, you’ll know it when you see it.”  Our house looked like a gingerbread house completely outlined in twinkling lights.  When I was growing up, we always had what I would consider a  good-sized tree.  It was always beautifully decorated, and my mom spent hours on it.  Like this one, for example:  

 And when I moved out on my own, I continued the tradition, buying large trees and decorating them almost identically to the ones my mother decorated throughout my childhood.  The running joke in our family was that I was only allowed to place one ornament on the tree each year, because my mom was so particular about how her tree looked (oh yes, there’s a psychiatric study in here somewhere). 


  I was used to my parents getting big trees (my mom even made my dad return a tree to the lot after bringing it home, putting it in the tree stand, and deciding it was too small.  Yes, she exchanged our tree).  But the year I visited them for Christmas while they were living in Nova Scotia, they had truly outdone themselves.  This is what I walked in to see on Christmas Eve, 2001:  

No, seriously.

Just in case you’re having trouble seeing it, here’s another one:  

This image has not been photoshopped. I swear.

 No, I don’t know how they got it into the house. 

So the next time someone comments on the size of my tree, I’ll point them to this picture and explain that I come by the crazy honestly.  Because, seriously, this tree was nuts, but not entirely unexpected.  I’m trying to avoid being this wacky about the holidays, but it’s hard not to get terribly excited and start seeing visions of lawn displays of lit-up reindeer and Santa sleighs and man-sized candy canes (but I don’t get the inflatable Christmas creatures – those things are creepy, and there were tons of them deflated and strewn on lawns this week because it was really windy here).  Christmas is fun in our house, and I plan to keep it that way.  It doesn’t help that we live in a community that holds a light display contest every Christmas (I think Erik may have designs on future competitions, he keeps saying “we don’t have ENOUGH lights!!” rather emphatically), and does a pancake breakfast with Santa, followed by evening sleigh rides.  We’re signed up for both this Saturday, so I’m sure I’ll report on how it went. 

I know many people are cynical about Christmas, and see it as a materialistic exercise in excess that places special emphasis on values that should be celebrated all year long.  And I get their point, but I still plan to buy presents for people I love, send out Christmas cards, and decorate every year, and take time to reflect on those values that perhaps we forget the rest of the year.  The tree is just a symbol, but for us it’s a symbol with a great deal of meaning.  It’s the focal point of our celebration.  Last year we celebrated our first Christmas in our first home with our new baby, and I had the perfect tree, big and beautiful.  

new traditions (and a little rope to keep it anchored to the wall)


  1. There are no words to describe that tree. It must be seen to be believed. And even then, one could be forgiven for being skeptical. Wow.

  2. That tree is gorgeous. I love, love, love, love Christmas and the season. I find it all so magical and wondrous. I’m like a little kid.

  3. […] moping about how small it was, and some (not so) gentle reminders from my husband and friends that a “small” tree for me is a “normal” tree for anyone else, I decorated it and the rest of the house and it looks pretty good, I think.  That is not a dead […]

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