Thursday photo prompt – Christmas Present – #writephoto


The little tree sits neatly on our coffee table. Not a big tree. No lights on it, there not being any convenient electrical outlet nearby. Yet it is satisfying. Pretty, festive, neat. Cheerful without taking over the house.

I remember the big trees of years past. Hulking great trees covered with easily shattered glass ornaments. Shivering with lights and tinsel. I recall all the the years of not being able to decorate the bottom of the tree because cats found the shiny, dangling glass balls irresistible. The dogs found tree an overwhelming temptation too, especially the boys. No amount of heart-to-heart conversations about Christmas tree etiquette with them ever convinced a dog to not imbue the tree with his own personal essence.


People always called Christmas pines real trees, as if there was something intrinsically superior to cutting down a living tree, hauling it indoors, then decorating it. Only to watch it slowly die. Then dragging it outside to be collected as trash, or give it a Viking funeral in a bonfire.

I’ve always hated taking the tree down. It wasn’t unusual for me to leave it up until Valentine’s Day or later. I hated watching it die and refused to admit it was. Like the cut flowers I  never throw away until they are completely crisp and brown.

This little tree is an elegant fake. It will never die because it has never lived. It can return every Christmas and will never become trash on the curb. I prefer it this way.


The surprise is how much we enjoy our small, quiet Christmas. It doesn’t feel like deprivation. We can watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Story” again. Maybe add “White Christmas” as a bonus. Cuddle the dogs.

No more maxed out credit cards or guilt over not buying the right gift … or spending weeks decorating, wrapping, and preparing. And ending up exhausted, with an empty bank account and a vague feeling of disappointment. This year, my one big blowout gift is for us: I’m getting a team in to clean the house. I’m neat, so it’s not a disaster area. I do the best I can, but cleaning this place thoroughly is beyond me these days. So happy Christmas to me! We shall go into the New Year clean.

christmas red door wreath

Christmas day will be a dinner with friends. He’s not feeling too well, so we’re going there. I understand. These days, our health and the health of friends is not a given. We keep fingers crossed that it’s going to work out and everyone will be fine — and the weather will coöperate.

Maybe this was the way it was supposed to be. Warm, friendly, quiet. Low key — with not a single shred of disappointment. Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah. And a joyous anything else you celebrate. Whether you are having a crowd or just yourself, may it be a time of comfort and joy.

Categories: celebration, Christmas, Holidays

Tags: , , , ,

32 replies

  1. Sounds great to me! We have an artificial tree that looks great!


  2. How lovely, and your tree is beautiful, though considerably bigger than ours.
    Merry Christmas from our quiet time to yours. Just two and a half of us, we will spend Christmas Day with our friend, me cooking dinner for us all. Our own Christmas will be quiet, our little tree stands on the cooker, and this year we have a cheapie outside on the boat roof. Our £10 dash is on the cards for midweek. We send cards but not gifts, yet our Christmas is full of joy, love and warmth. We have each other, we have friends. What more could we ask?


  3. I’ve never liked the idea of cutting down a tree just for display either…though I miss the smell of pine that accompanied childhood Christmases.


    • I figure if I really NEED the scent, there are candles and air fresheners. You can always steal a few pine boughs without sacrificing the entire tree. It used to give me an actual pain watching the tree die. I have a very mixed emotional relationship to cut flowers. Except flowers, unlike trees, are at the end of their life anyway.


      • A cut flower doesn’t necessarily kill the plant… unlike most trees. But I know what you mean. The trouble is, I feel sorry for them when they are in the ‘bargain’ bin at the supermarket and know they will only end up in the garbage before their beauty has been appreciated.


  4. Marilyn, I think your Christmas sounds wonderful. We put up a very small tree, also. There’s just the two of us! The kids come by and between opening presents and eating dinner (I do love to cook everything myself), that is festivity enough. No tree killing involved.


    • I think we should have stuck with plan A, hanging out with each other! Cooking for my family is like producing MacBeth. There may be only five people, but there are three dozen allergies, aversions, strong preferences … and about 1000 ways to complain.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Someone to give the house a thorough cleaning–now that’s a GIFT I could use. One of these Christmases, that’s just what I’ll be asking for now that smarty you got me thinking. Like you, with health issues, I just can’t do what I used to do. Although visitors would never know now much deep cleaning needs to be done, Dan and I do. For us, December is a month to relax and enjoy the holiday season with family and a few close friends. I decorate a bit and we have a 3-foot tall tree all decked out with shell ornaments I made the year we retired. This year I attempted home-made Christmas cookies (something I hadn’t done in more than a decade). Oh, so yummy…but after days and days of enduring serious aches and pains from my baking efforts, I’m planning to buy home-made-by-someone-else cookies from here on in. Still, I glad I did it one last time. Christmas music is playing, lights and candles are flickering and I’m grateful for another year to enjoy it all. Wishing you and Garry a Very Merry Christmas and abundant blessings in the New Year! xo


    • I can’t do it anymore, nor can Garry. We’re neat, so the house is presentable, if you don’t look closely. But every time I take a pictures, I see the cobwebs and the dust. And my lungs know. So I figured it was worth it. It isn’t going to happen often, but I love the idea of not breathing dust until spring or whenever 🙂


  6. I think you’ve got the right idea Marilyn. Love the coziness of the room


  7. I guess this means I shouldn’t expect a gift this year from you? Lynn and I do no decorating. We don’t exchange gifts either. She did buy me new underwear last week but that was more because I needed some rather than wanting to give me a gift on Jesus’ birthday. Can you imagine giving Him underwear? But I digress.


    • Garry and I stopped exchanging gifts a long time ago. I buy small stuff for the kids — who are respectively 20, 47, and 55. Otherwise, the little tree lives (fully decorated) in the attic and comes out for a month in December, then goes back in. I get Garry what he needs as he needs it and he buys me flowers because he loves me and likes showing it. I get myself stuff I want because I’m 70 years old and this is the rainy day I saved for. Merry whatever! Oh and the lights are up all year round.


      • I used to buy Lynn flowers but, just like you feel about cutting down a tree and watching it die, my wife feels the same about flowers. So I buy her dinner whenever she’ll agree to go out. She just hates for me to spend money on her. So I spend it on me which makes at least one of us happy! As for Merry Whatever, let’s just say Merry Sunday and leave it at that. We don’t celebrate except for visiting the babies in the family and gifting them with jewelry or Star Wars toys or athletic gear, depending on their interests.


        • I’m beginning to think we should have skipped the whole thing too. I offered to cook dinner Christmas Eve. My daughter in law can’t eat pasta or chili. My son won’t eat fish. Garry and I don’t like pork. The men like beef well done, but the women all like it mooing. No one likes turkey and I can’t afford lamb. So I said “Stuffed roast chicken” or “pot roast” and I favor the pot roast because it’s been awhile and at least I like it. All of this via email.

          Christmas Day, we are going to visit friends and he’s not feeling well, so I’m bringing food and Garry has that “why can’t we stay home and watch movies” look. I think he’s got the right idea. What was I thinking?


  8. We have a little tree (artificial ) much like yours is. We do have lights and tinsel on it. A quieter Christmas is much preferred.


  9. I love your little Christmas tree. Your room looks so cosy.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. No Christmas decorations at The Nest’s nest….. never has been and never will be. My lone tribute to any holiday is the squirrel o’lantern I carve and put out on the porch Halloween evening. Other than that, you’d need a calendar to tell what time of the year it was around my house…

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I first was living with Garry, he did nothing for the holidays. Basically, other than sending cards, he still doesn’t. Through all the years, he never decorated the tree. He’d watch me do it, watch others do it, but never participated. He likes holidays. Mostly, he likes holiday food and holiday movies, but the rest? He has never cared one way or the other. I think more people don’t than are willing to admit it.


  11. We gave up cards and gifts to anyone years ago. I no longer even bring down the attic tree to decorate, since only two people ever see it, and one of us doesnt really care. Put the candles in the windows because he fusses if I don’t. But HE has to turn them on every night. Deal.

    My mother had no problem with not exchanging gifts, and it gave her lovely ammunition for her friends, when they asked what i had given her for Christmas and she would manage to look slightly saddened and say, quietly, “well, she decided we just weren’t going to do anything about Christmas this year…” MOTHER…=)

    I always used to be appalled at my older widowed friends who didnt decorate, and now I understand why they didnt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still send cards, a tradition passed down from my Mom. But the list gets shorter every year.
      The little Christmas tree seems just right for us now.
      As for Holiday spirit, it’s not the same this year.


    • I remember thinking “How sad that they don’t even decorate” and here I am … doing the least I can. It’s nice to have a few decorations, but it’s also nice to NOT have the whole house full of stuff I’m only going to have to put away — and I used to and still do hate the post holiday home restoration project. I have enough trouble just getting through a regular month with piles of pine needles, broken decorations, and tinsel.



  1. Photo prompt round up – Christmas Present – #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

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