Like tree, Christmas need only be 'good enough'

By Jim DeBrosse

Really, it wasn't a bad looking Christmas tree; maybe a tad on the stout side, with a bare spot that would have to be turned to the back. But the $15 price tag at Country Pines Farm added a lot to its looks, and so did its being chosen from all the others by my 18-year-old daughter, who has always had a soft spot for strays and misfits.

When we brought it home and set it up by the front window, we discovered it was so fat and jolly it took up about half of our small living room, blocking the view of the TV from the love seat.

"It's OK," said she who had anointed the tree. "We'll just watch TV from the sofa."

My other two children weren't as forgiving. Younger daughter immediately labeled it "our Christmas bush." And middle son dismissed it as "the ugliest tree we've ever had."

"Yeah, but it has character," older daughter said in defense.

"We say that every year," son replied. "When will we ever get a decent Christmas tree?"

I declared the tree "good enough," and I'm glad I did.

The rest of the holiday preparations seemed to fall into place.

With the help of a friend, I strung the tree with the big old-fashioned bulbs that are harder to tangle or step on. I managed to complete the task without uttering a single unseasonal word or, as I did one year when the kids were very small and I was very tired, slamming a ball of knotted lights against the nearest wall.

Younger daughter put up the creche and stockings. Older daughter and I leisurely trimmed the tree one night during TV commercials, adopting a minimalist theme that took less time and fewer boxes retrieved from the attic.

Middle son vacuumed the living room just minutes before we sat down to our early Christmas dinner, squeezed in Sunday night before the kids' exam week at school and their flight to California to spend winter break with their mom.

The spiral ham for dinner was delicious, but the cheesy potatoes were soupy, as always, even though I had unfailingly followed the directions on the box. The surprise is that no child complained, and I felt no need to apologize.

Good enough.

After dinner, we had an actual gift exchange -- the kids having bought presents for the first time for each other and for me as well.

I proudly donned my new sweater vest, one my daughters insisted was more stylish than my collection of zip-up polar fleeces.

My son got CDs and, even though he now has an unlimited Zune account to download whatever music he wants, was polite enough to give thank you's all around.

The girls exchanged clothing items more suited, perhaps, to the giver's taste than to the receiver's.

But we all agreed it was a very nice Christmas.

And good enough.

  • DATE: December 19, 2009

  • PUBLICATION: Dayton Daily News (OH)

Copyright, 2009, Cox Ohio Publishing. All rights reserved.

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