Over the weekend as I prepped for Christmas, we went on the hunt for a tree at our local Lowe’s Improvement store. As soon as we walked up, a young lady asked us if we wanted her tree. She had an issue with bringing the tree home on that particular night and charged us $5. Five dollars for a full, 8′ tree.


it made me a little nostalgic and I thought back to that year we had gotten our first live Christmas tree.

It was about 18-20 years ago. It was a rough time for my family. I can’t remember specifically what had occurred with my dad’s job, but we had taken a financial hit. If I could assume, it was probably a lack of hours or work slowing down. Whatever the case was, it had put is in a financial hardship right before the holidays.

I could remember it was getting closer and closer to Christmas, and I noticed that we hadn’t put up our tree. Usually we’d have a tree up by now — decorated and even hovering over our presents. I could also remembering asking my mom when we were going to put up the tree, but she never answered. I could only imagine how she felt trying to figure out how to explain the situation to an 8-9 year old. How we couldn’t afford to purchase an artificial tree nor a live one without having to sacrifice a few gifts perhaps. Even at a young age I could understand how loud silence could be. So I left it alone.

We were driving home one day and I saw a tree on the side of the road that looked like a Christmas tree. I remember saying how we could bring that tree home and decorate it. But mom remained silent and daddy kept driving until we made it home. A few days passed and my family and I were on our way home and again, I see the same tree. I remember mom signaling for dad to pull over. And I saw him get out, send a few good hits to the trunk of the tree, drag it then tie it to the roof of our ’88 flat blue Dodge Diplomat and drive home.

We had a make-shift stand for the tree, but it stood tall. It was quite full and it made our home smell so fresh. But as an 8-9 year old. I associated Christmas with lights and ours had been lost, misplaced, and/or broken. The disappointment faded when mom made me realize that a tree can be just as beautiful without lighting. And ours was.

The next day, I remember leaving for school so excited to get through the day so that I could get home to water it. When I had made it home, our tree was different. My mother had managed to find all of the Christmas bows that had been accumulated over the years and strategically placed them on the tree. It was one of the most beautiful trees I’d ever seen in all of my Christmases. She had even saved a few for my siblings and I to add to it. We spent the evening finishing with the bows and even some tinsel that we were so blessed to discover at the bottom of the box of bows. We still didn’t have any lights, but on the nights that the moon shone just right into the living room window and onto the tinsel, the tree lit up perfectly.

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  1. Mimi

    December 1, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Love!! I remember one year when we first got married we didn’t have money to get one so the man at Lowes on Christmas Eve gave us one for a dollar but said don’t put lights on it because it was so dry it was a fire hazard. We put bows in it and I remember that to this day. Those moments aren’t the best when you are going through them but they are necessary for gratitude.

    1. Rae

      December 2, 2015 at 12:36 pm

      Absolutely! The definitely aren’t the best but are necessary. In addition to remaining grateful, those moments also keep me humble and grounded.

  2. Shannon

    December 1, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Making things work sometimes have the best outcomes. Growing up my family always had artificial trees. It wasn’t until I had a family of my own that I decided to purchase a real tree. It was beautiful but with my children and I all being asthmatics, I had to get a nice artificial tree the next year. I was never really much into the spirit of the holidays, but my children have changed that for me.

    1. Rae

      December 2, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      Children have a way of changing the way we do and see things. I got out of the holiday spirit when my mother passed around this time, but they made me realize that I shouldn’t completely take away how they enjoy this time of year. Incorporating some of the things that she has done during this time has made it much more enjoyable for me.

  3. Zauni.

    December 2, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    My heart. This is just, beautiful. First, you are a lovely writer. I love discovering blogs with strong writing, it warms my heart. Second I cannot thank you enough for sharing this story. This is my favorite time of year, and I love hearing why this season is so special to people, and what defines the holiday spirit for them. Your mom sounds like a beautiful soul. It is just so lovely the things parents do for their children. I have to share this post!

    Happy Holiday Season!

  4. Law_Fal

    December 2, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    Memories like these are definitely necessary to keep that perspective and gratitude in our lives :)

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