Christmas of 2000 was a scant year. We were poor, in a hurry to finish our finals to travel to Argentina to visit TC's family for Gordi's first time, and were desperate for some sort of light during the dark time. So, we scrounged up $30 to buy a Christmas tree and decorations.
I had some ribbon left over from our wedding, and some raffia, and a gifted afghan from my aunt which we added to the one box of ornaments we bought and the Charlie Brown tree we acquired from Walmart. We strung Christmas lights around the apartment, and covered the tree as much as we could. This dear little tree was exactly the light we needed. We laughed to each other at how scrawny our tree was, but we were so grateful to be able to even have one.
We had no money for Christmas gifts that year, but really wanted to be able to send presents to my family. We wondered how we would be able to afford gifts, let alone the postage to California. My dear mother, inspired as she is, sent us a Christmas check. We used that money to buy gifts for my family that year.
A few years later, we spent $20 to buy even more ornaments to hide the scrawniness of the tree. We inherited ornaments from my parents which was a huge blessing. You can see that we still had the Christmas lights up. We liked them so much that first Christmas that we left them up.
Christmas in Salt Lake City (2004). We decided to buy a real tree that year, but since I have very little sense of spatial dimensions, I chose a tree that was definitely short enough for the new apartment, but clearly too fat around the bottom to fit comfortably between our furniture. We shoved that poor little tree into the trunk of our car, got needles everywhere, and had a piney smelling car until nearly the next Christmas.
It was that same Christmas that we made tomates rellenos and fruit salad just like TC's mom does.
Christmas 2006 we bought an artificial, pre-lit tree. Our eyes were bigger than our short ceiling, so the poor tree doesn't get a top. And this year, that same tree is up and bringing us joy each evening as we return home to a warm apartment and lit tree.
Christmas is such a dear time of year, isn't it?