Sam finished his first final today (we're yet to see how it went), so decided to take the rest of the day off. So we went and got a tree after picking up Jori from school this afternoon.. We get a real tree every year, sometimes (like last year) from driving into the mountains and chopping one down in Idaho; other times (this year) from going to a lot. We chose one and had it loaded about eight minutes after parking! Had to be a new record for us.
In all it's glory! We got a smaller one and put it up, in hopes of keeping it out of Willow's reach. I'm going to have to watch her like a hawk...
It got me thinking about how other people do Christmas. And you know one thing I loved about our tree, growing up? The ornaments were so...hodge-podge. There was no color coordinating. No emphatically particular placement. If anything, it was more like Christmas from the previous 20 years had puked onto the tree, each time. And I loved it. I still do.
(Christmas 2006, my senior year. Ten years ago[!])
There were ornaments my mom had made doing needlepoint, from my parents' first Christmas together. There were certainly handmade ones from school, created by each of us six kids. There were the baby ones of each of us that my mom had made one year at a Relief Society activity. There were a LOT of Hallmark ones. My mom loved getting a few more each year, in their after-Christmas sale.
The tree would get loaded just about till it was ready to topple over from the weight of all of them. Then we'd plug in the multi-color lights, listen to the tacky Disney Christmas album, and sigh in blissful contentment.
Sometimes I think pinterest has ruined everything.
I didn't even know making it look, you know, like a part of the decor of the living room was a thing until I had left the house. What?? Other people don't have this smorgasbord of memories in their living room for a month?!
Snow pants was another one. Until I dated a guy who owned a snowboard shop, I didn't even know that there were trends, as far as most snow clothes went. I mean I went to school, and knew certain winter coats were supposed to be cuter than others. And certainly some normal clothes were supposed to be. But snow pants? Or the gloves and hats that go along with it? It was all so fuzzy to me. (I think that was a turn-off for him. Ha.)
It's not like I grew up destitute, but when it snowed, you went to a big mess of gloves and tried to find a pair that kind-of fit you, then called it good. Same with hats, and scarves. I wore hand-me-down snow pants, as far as I can remember, almost always. And they were the bib overall ones. Till I was 20. Still, basically.
Here's some from Christmas, 2008, a year before Sam and I got married.
Honestly I attribute this lack of self-consciousness in snow gear to my brothers. They were confident, and I happily followed in that wake.
I have said before how, yeah, pinterest, but I think also just living in a digital age can wear on me. It's too easy to compare. Instead of seeing what people in your neighborhood do, you see the best of the best, from an entire world of complete strangers. I don't just mean their individual best, I mean like...the top ten most creative people in the country, you see their stuff. But then also the top ten most organized. And the top ten most fun. And the top ten best at money management. So you see these people that have one particular strength, and rather than recognize these people might suck at everything else, you think "I need to match them!" in their one really skilled area, and only take that away from your exposure to them.
Am I projecting? I don't think it's supposed to be that way, but that's how I feel.
I have a constant back and forth battle with myself, of wanting not to care but caring what other people think/wanting their approval. Maybe even their praise. But it's weird. These things: the ornaments on my childhood Christmas trees, the advent calendar, the snow clothes. They're like free passes for me.
I just feel really freed when I'm successful at enjoying, thoroughly enjoying, something I know most people wouldn't admire and some might even disdain, in regards to material things. Maybe that's why I refuse to buy a new winter coat and have been wearing the same one for seven years. (Or money, but that's crazy talk.) Or why I still wear this Boston Red Sox t-shirt I got when I was 16. I'm not all the way there yet...but I hope to get there someday.