My daughter the writer wrote this description of a family Christmas Eve as part of a college application essay.
We’re in the midst of our annual Christmas Eve tree-trimming bash at my grandmother’s house. My father and my uncle Gerry are bringing in the tree, and my sisters and I are breathlessly awaiting its unveiling. I’m afraid that the reason is not that we’re waiting for this magical season to weave its spell over us. We get as sentimental as anyone over Christmas, but right now we’re wondering what geometric figure the tree will most closely resemble. My grandmother is very frugal. The result of this is that her trees are always cheap, but they also tend to have rather original shapes.
They bring the tree through the door, set it in the stand, and cut the netting around it. It does not disappoint. It’s, it’s...it’s nearly a perfect cylinder! My sisters and I begin hanging the ornaments. They consist of a few beautiful heirlooms, some traditional Christmas balls, many, many plastic multi-colored plastic disco balls, and a good number of styrofoam-and-yarn-elves which have been mysteriously decapitated over the years.
The traditional meal of tortilla chips and salsa is served. Much to everyone’s chagrin, but to no one’s surprise, Grandma has frozen the salsa. She has a rather touching faith that the best thing to do for any, and I do mean any, food is to stick it in the freezer for six months. Fortunately, the chips escaped unscathed.
My father places the angel on top of the tree, and we step back and admire our handiwork. It’s may not be one of man’s great artistic endeavors, but this tree has character, lots of character.