Happy Christmas in July!
This blue spruce stands as a reminder of the most magical Christmas the Krasny family ever knew: the Christmas of 2007.
September of ’07, our family faced the fears of the downward market. Over 1200 employees at my husband’s work found themselves unemployed overnight. He among them. At the time, I worked as an instructional assistant in an elementary school making $11.40/hour while finishing my masters in education.
Christmas was coming, the budget was tight. A week before the big celebration, we went to Lowe’s to get a tree. Christmas was all on sale including evergreens with root balls in pots. For $30, it was quite the steal, but the tree was short. Roots and all, the tree barely came waist high. Even with decorations, my seven year old stood as tall as this tree.
Our children were troopers, but sugar plums certainly didn’t dance in their heads. “Mom, a Christmas tree should be taller than us,” my oldest said. In her voice, the worries and dreams of Christmas magic expressed doubt.
Back in the days on the farm, our trees always seemed taller and bigger than they probably were. That’s the beauty of a child’s memory. My children’s impressions of the joyous noel were threatened and under attack.
I went back to Lowe’s buying one of the last $10 cut trees, snuck it home, and stuffed it in a barn stall. The children asleep in bed allowed my husband and me to decorate the second tree upstairs in the barn. It was a secret, our secret.
Christmas Eve came, we gathered around our tiny spruced up tree in the pot. The children looked at the sparse presents beneath the diminutive decorated branches. They didn’t complain, but their smiles were missing. We opened one present: pjs for all, then headed out to the barn to watch a movie.
As the children climbed the stairs, one by one we heard them exclaim. The real celebration waited up top in the beauty of the tree’s lights.
We planted that short little tree in the pot later in the new year. The small, short spruce has now grown three times taller than we have. Standing there in the back pasture, the tree represents the magic of Christmas. Each time I pass it by, I remember the change from heavy disappointment to gasps of pure joy. Christmas that year came from a very dark night. The miracle of love filled our little barn just like it did many years ago.
This year, summer doesn’t feel like a child’s playground. This July 25 of the summer 2020, no gifts are needed, decorations can stay packed, but the perfect opportunity to surprise our families deserves to be experienced with the gifts of each other.
Embrace this time upon us. Go beyond the new norm. Reach outside of the questions and heaviness to find a reason to give. Let 2020 grow in a positive way in our hearts and memories by choosing to make a miracle happen.