The Happiest Christmas Tree

The Next Family

By: Brandy Black

I listened to the The Happiest Christmas Tree 20 times today.  Each time it ended a high-pitched voice from the back of the car would say “Again”.

I’m the happiest Christmas tree with a ho ho ho and a hee hee hee

I come from a family, that embraces twinkling lights, decorations, stuffed animals singing holiday tunes from every corner, a big tree a little tree, snow painted on the windows, we’ll just say no scrooges are allowed in my parents’ home.  Frankly, I’m surprised my mom doesn’t have a sign that says just that.  I’m just as bad.  I insist on an annual holiday party, decorating cookies, going to some choral concert, ice skating, hot chocolate at the Biltmore, parades, fires in the fireplace, a vast collection of holiday music, Gingerbread lattes, the light show in Griffith park (even though it’s the same every year and the line is sometimes 2 hours long), I love it all.  I love the painful traditions as much as the delightful ones.    I adore bundling up (for LA) and unraveling the string from multiple trees, dragging the chosen one to the car, tying it to the top, lugging it in our living room and listening to Nat King Cole while wrapping lights and carefully placing ornaments on our new living room décor.  I can’t wait to go holiday shopping, coffees in hand and a kiss before we part for our hour away to find that super duper perfect gift for the other.  It’s a lover’s holiday, I know it’s so very Hallmark-When-Harry-Met-Sally of me but I can’t help it.  I have always cherished the holidays and no one will take that away from me.

Our daughter’s first Christmas, we were at the airport adorned in Uggs and North face coats ready for the snow that lay on the other side of our trip.  Yeah, it was exhausting hauling all the baby stuff, coordinating around her perfect nap schedule but it was CHRISTMAS and this is how it goes, the joy of waiting in long lines at the airport….Deck the halls with boughs of holly…our flight was delayed…Tis the season to be jolly…delayed again…Don we now our gay apparel…and again…Fa la la la la la la…and canceled.

“Don’t worry” I say cheerfully handing Sophia to a very irritated Susan.  “I got this, we’re good babe, don’t worry, it’s Christmas”

I bounce over to the Virgin America desk and someone points me to a very long line of people.

“Thank you” I say with a singsong tone.

Twenty minutes later, I reached the front of the line to find out the flight was cancelled with no others available until after Christmas.  The moment hit, the doubt set in and I wondered if some of my less inspired friends had been right all along.  Maybe Christmas is a drag, the travel, the cost, the lines, the commercialism and now I was standing hopeless at the airport with an exhausted baby and a hollowing realization.  That lasted a couple hours until I pepped the family up with a rainy day breakfast at a holiday lovers dream restaurant; Joan’s on Third and followed it up with Christmas night spent having drinks by the fire at Shutters on the Beach.  It was all romantic and redeeming but somehow a baby squelches the fun when you rush the drinks down to stroll around the beach for an hour trying to coax her back to sleep. At the end of the day, we were tired.  I guess that Christmas I begin to prepare myself for new reality of holidays.

But this year might be different…

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