Safari Heat Blog HopMy family lived in a small town where there wasn’t much to do, so when the lights went on again at the end of World War II, riding with my family crowded around me to see the lights that first Christmas Eve was a very special treat.

One tree, in a wealthy home, shone from a big bay window, a glorious vision in gleaming blue and silver, its lights winking blue on the white snow outside. Daddy stopped the car so we could study it. Mother said a professional must have decorated it because each ball had been placed in perfect symmetry, every foil icicle hung with exact precision equidistant from the other. A silvery glass spire crowned the top.

We had never had—would never have—such a breathtakingly beautiful tree. But I will when I’m grown.

I grew up, married, we had children. I’d still planned to have the tree of my dreams, but one year our preschooler produced a white Styrofoam cup with a few red sequins glued on it and a green wire stuck up through the bottom.

“It’s a bell,” she said, obviously pleased with her work as I helped her hang it on a branch.

From kindergarten, our second born brought home a lopsided paper angel for the top. My heart ached as I removed the red and gold glass spire inherited from my late mother for the angel, but his eyes shone with delight.

Our second grader handed me a brown construction paper reindeer made in school. Brads allowed its legs to move. It was almost as large as our live tree, and such trees are never perfect…there is always a hole. Dad covered this one with the reindeer.

The kids decorated the tree as they grew a little older and crafted new items to go on it. One evening, I cringed as I watched them hang the ornaments haphazardly, and then throw the foil icicles on. At least they’d learned to cover the hole with that ugly brown reindeer.

Enough of this, I finally said to myself. Next year, I will decorate.

At that moment, I watched them step back, and our daughter cried, “It’s our best tree yet!”

Dismay spread through me as I realized what I hadn’t understood–to me it might be a hodgepodge, but to them it was their creation and satisfyingly beautiful.

Our kids grew up, married and have their own children now. On our tree the ornaments they crafted, which are uniquely theirs, mingle with those made by their children and those from stores. Every family member’s interests are represented there—sports, music, art, writing and pets.

My husband and I switched to an artificial tree not long ago, and, would you believe it has a hole? Oh, yes. We, of course, have the perfect solution for it.

It’s no longer important that I’ll never have the tree of my dreams. We have the gloriously creative and wonderfully perfect tree for our family.

May your holidays be touched with memories that bring you joy,

Carolina Valdez http://www.CarolinaValdez.com Twitter @carolina_valdez https://fingerstothekeys.wordpress.com

FOR PRIZES FOLLOW THE HOP HERE: http://safariheatbooktoursandauthorservices.blogspot.com

COMING JANUARY 2014 – AWAKING THE ALPHA by Carolina Valdez – a sexy gay romantic werewolf fantasy with strong men who know how to love. Look for it on Amazon, B and N, Kobo, Sony, ARe and Amber Allure.


35 thoughts on “A CHRISTMAS MEMORY (And A Blog Hop)

  1. Your book sounds really good. I do cook and get stuck with a lot of dishes to bring to dinner.
    Name:Virginia Horton
    Email: lead@hotsheet.com
    Comment: This it the way things were done when I was growing up.
    Twitter: Followed
    FaceBook: Followed


  2. Name: Barbara Gamble
    Email: bkg0605@aol.com
    Comment: This is so much fun! I love the Blog Hops
    I enjoy both naughty and nice!
    It is all about the mood of the day.
    Happy Holidays to you and yours.
    Twitter: Followed
    FaceBook: Followed
    Blog: Followed
    Country You Live In: United States


  3. Name: Kathryn Anne Merkel
    Email: drainbamaged.gyzmo at gmail.com
    Comment: Lol. My mom has had the crazy Christmas school craft stuff on her tree for years too. Not sure what some of those teachers were thinking. My best friend reclaimed her tree, by giving the kids their own small trees & letting them put whatever they wanted on them.
    Twitter: Followed
    FaceBook: Followed
    Country You Live In: United States


    1. We have a daughter-in-law whose family spent Christmases in a mountain cabin. Each year they made ornaments, then they were tossed out. The next year they arrived eager to start anew. Of course, this was a very artistically gifted mom…a graphic artist.


  4. Eva Millien
    evamillien at gmail dot com
    Those are the perfect tress. My daughter and I used to every year would decide on a color scheme and make glass ornaments and others in those colors every year for the tree. It started out because we didn’t have a lot of money and needed ornaments. Now we have a tree with lots of colors and so many ornaments, but we still add to it, even if it’s only a few.
    Twitter -done
    Blog -done


  5. Name: Shelly Hammond
    Email: booski24@hotmail.com
    Comment: I love the above story! It puts a lot of the things that we take for granted into perspective. We switched to an artificial tree many years back because my daughter “couldn’t bear to cut down a tree!” She’s 20 now and still can’t cut one down! I think it’s because when she was young she read the story about the Christmas tree that dreamed of becoming one, did, then was burnt up in the end (I can’t recall the name of it, that was a long time ago!). She’s always been quite touched by such things but I didn’t even think about it at the time, however it stuck with her! We’ve a lot of practice decorating the artificial trees now though. Thank you for sharing your story. I have a feeling I will be back to read it again because it’s a really amazing story. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you!
    Twitter: Couldn’t find to follow (technology baffles me, it could be right in front of my face but I don’t see it)
    Facebook: Couldn’t find to follow either
    Blog: Followed Shelly Hammond (booski24@hotmail.com) (followed by WordPress)
    Country you live in: US


    1. I believe the burned tree ended up seeding the earth and new trees sprouting up. However, some people are as sensitive about the earth and its beauties as she is. We need more people like her. Thank you for the thoughtful comment.


  6. This is such a beautiful post. My tree looks very much like your first trees looked. My children make ornaments for me at school and I proudly hang each one on the tree. One year was particularly tough and we couldn’t afford ornaments; our old ornaments seemed to have disappeared when we moved from one house to another. My daughter spend hours carefully coloring pictures and cutting them out then surprising me with all the “ornaments” she had made for our naked tree. I hung them all with pride.
    Michelle Willms


  7. Email:sbart79@gmail.com
    Facebook: Shari Drehs Bartholomew
    Blog: Followed by (put name if it’s different from your own)
    Country you live in:USA
    Sounds like wonderful memories. I does not matter how you have but who you are with for the best memories


    1. So true, Shari. My husband and I have been married for years and years, but our children have married into families of divorce and remarriage. They live in different states, so it’s a challenge to work out getting in touch in this special season. Usually we can manage sometime in December or January, even if only for a few hours.


  8. Erika Messer
    Followed Blog by email abbyswarriormom@aol.com
    Country: USA
    I know what you mean about the perfect tree wish – I always did that when I was younger I had a tree of my own in my bedroom. But now that I have a daughter things have changed – she gets to pick the colors, and of course we have her ornaments anything she makes at school on the tree 🙂 It does change you and it does make you see that even if it’s not what we expected it to be, it’s perfect because it’s made with love and by them 🙂


  9. Amy Bowens
    Wow such a lovely and heartfelt story! I felt like I was right there beside you watching your children hand their homemade ornaments when they were younger. Thank you for sharing your story. I too have little ones at home and I always enjoy letting them decorate the tree and love the pleased smiles on their face when they have finished! I also have a dang hole in the tree ( I think almost everyone does lol) Hope you have a Merry Christmas!
    Twitter: Followed
    Facebook: I friended you!
    Blog: subscribed
    Country USA


  10. Comment: Hi! Great post! Ive always wanted a real tree but having animals doesnt really make it possible. We only do fake ones but my mom found this big full one, almost looks real! Ya all are so awesome! Thank you for the amazing giveaway! Very much appreciated! Thank you! Happy holidays!
    Name: Shadow
    Email: shadowluvs2read(at)gmail(dot)com
    Country you live in: US


    1. I don’t know yet who won what in the contest. We do miss the smell of pine from a live tree, but the tree farms where we got our trees for years went out of business. Forced us to an artificial one, and that’s better because we have a son-in-law who is allergic to live trees.


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