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John suggested we decorate the tree ourselves this year – I looked at him as though he were speaking some alien tongue hitherto unheard by me.

The thought alone was perplexing – the task itself felt monumental and daunting; John laughed with delight at my puzzlement …

As a child, our Christmas tree appeared as if by magic the first week of December; I came home from school to find it in the music room, elegantly standing in the corner by the french doors and adjacent to the fireplace.  It’s majesty, and artistry, transformed the already grand room into a holiday wonderland.

We didn’t own Christmas decorations, the artist my mother commissioned to create our Christmas theme took care of everything from the tree and garland to the stockings and mistletoe.  It was always spectacular, but it was never the same …

except for the family pictures.  Each year after the decorations were in place, a photographer came and took pictures of my father, mother and I somewhere within the holiday setting of our music room; these pictures became our family’s Christmas card – and, throughout the season, they were all on display as part of the decor in the entry hall.

Back to the tree …

I am many things, including creative; I can write, play the piano and violin – I can even compose, but the How To of Christmas Tree Decorating is not within my make-up.

“John, I hire people to decorate, you know this – I can’t decorate a Christmas tree; we don’t even own lights or all the things people hang on a tree …”

“Libby, close your eyes and take my hand” was his only reply

He led me upstairs into a guest bedroom – and when he said I could open my eyes, I found them laying on the bed …

all of the Christmas pictures – from my parents first Christmas as newlyweds, to last year’s with John and our children – and they had all been crafted into magnificent ornaments, each one a unique and splendid work of art.

Tears streaming, I looked at each one and remembered.

Two days later, the Friday after Thanksgiving, we – John and I and all of our children, were cutting down our family tree …

It’s still in the music room, but it is by far more beautiful than any other tree to have adorned this timeless place.

The warmth of candle glow

The kiss of mistletoe

The magic lives and we believe

It’s in our hearts to stay

Wishing you a joyous holiday season filled with fond memories of Christmas past, all the wonder of Christmas present, and the eternal hope of Christmas yet to be.