Our COVID December Begins

In the days before Thanksgiving, I watched a crew of volunteers erect a donated, 30-foot Christmas tree on the Winslow Green – a perfect fir, slim structural triangle, branches reaching up at balanced intervals, festooned with round red glass balls, and topped with a star. My heart soared at the sight.

At first, I thought, well that will do, that can be our Christmas tree, but on my walk the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I passed a woman stringing little white lights on three wire deer, awash in glitter, browsing under a patch of white-barked birch trees. When I said her display made me happy, she replied, “Well, I’ve been into this since the day after Halloween – there is more to come!”

She got her indoor tree from a local farm, and by the time I got home I knew we’d follow suit. Saturday being Small Business Saturday, supporting a local farm seemed appropriate, and at the farm – a rainy, but cheery place – big wreaths filled the arms of little children and big trees topped the cars of their parents.

The Los Angeles family is having a first Christmas in their own house, and last week I made a skirt for their tree and a stocking for Sweet Brother. I divided our stash of cookie cutters, stockings, tree decorations, and Christmas books in half, and packed their portion into three boxes to mail south. The boxes arrived on Saturday, and, by a chance video call, I watched the unpacking of one to fetch out a tiny string of lights for Sweet B’s doll house. Then, some hours later, a photo arrived of Sweet B in mask standing by her chosen tree on a Los Angeles tree lot.

By midday a photo pinged from Alaska – Lady B and Lord B standing (masked, and together holding a wreath), transfixed by some sight – maybe the fresh cutting and wrapping of their tree for the ride home? And later came a photo of their tree – gloriously lit and decorated. A snowy owl nestled at the top.

(The photos are treasured – thank you smart phones, thank you parents – they do help fill the void.)

That Saturday I also walked in town with my old friend – it’s fun to walk in town with her, because she knows many people and greetings are so friendly. But this day, I suppose because Governor Inslee lives on the island, a loud and obnoxious cabal of anti-mask protesters, walked off the ferry and onto Winslow Way with bullhorn and police siren, shouting that Bainbridge Islanders were brainwashed and masks were unconstitutional.

But never mind. (I did think of Lady B – one of her gratefuls at Thanksgiving dinner was for “those little pieces of cloth that keep the virus from spreading” – sensible child).  It’s better to think about family trees blinking alight along the coast from Southern California to Alaska.

Do you think it might be questionable for two grownups to have a tree since neither family from afar, nor local friends can visit? But to do without that welcome presence seems sad when there is already so much sad. Trees stir happy memories for sure – and memories are not locked down this year – so I’m eager for the tree’s festive light and color!

12 thoughts on “Our COVID December Begins

  1. I’m a little old lady who will light her deck trees and be so happy about it! Love the story of communications with your far-flung families.

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  2. Lovely! What a wonderful way to share a distanced Christmas. We will have a tree–though possible a smaller one that the usual 8-9 footer. With our first snow on the ground, I’m getting ready to put away the fall things and bring forth Christmas.

    As for the anti-mask demonstrators–how pathetic those folks are.

  3. Well, of course you must have a tree. The Gilmores without a tree??? Unthinkable. I have to say that I do miss the days of snow covered trees glowing with lights on a dark winter light. Portland rain doesn’t do quite the same thing, and yet I’m grateful to all the people who put up lights and decorations to cheer the drear. A friend told me recently that her father-in-law has an enormous collection of snowmen, which he displays inside and outside the house. Both his children, she says, fight over who will be the one to NOT inherit them. A wise dad will divide them up and share his spirit equally. So glad you sent those boxes south. They will miss you, but the kids will always remember their first Christmas in their own house. And next Christmas – bring on the cheer!!! xoxoxo

  4. I recall a cheery conversation with you in Carr’s grocery decades ago, when you offered me convivial sympathy for our annual bicker about long needle or short needle Christmas tree. It seems that with artificial trees so much the vogue, short needles have won the day? And now I learn of “pencil trees”, artificial of course! What a world. I love the lights for a doll house. Jack is now 3 1/2 and noticing lights going up all over. He wants some for the farms and zoos he is constantly building. Now I know such a thing is possible. I will think of you and Carol on Solstice Night, with thanks for years of cheering, charming afternoon tea.

    • Oh Bonny how wonderful to have these memories stirred! I remember that conversation now – in our house it was with the good natured husband about taking the time from work to get the tree! Nothing so esoteric as needle length! And for Jack – those tiny lights on copper wire with battery pack are a huge treat! Perfect for small things needing lighting- it’s interesting he notices the details in his building – where did that come from!

  5. We need trees, lights, lots of decorations and video sharing this season more than ever. H St is doing its part to light up the neighborhood. 🤗🤗🤗

  6. Beautiful tree skirt! It is just my husband and me, and we put up the tree last weekend. It brings me such comfort of Christmases past and hope for future Christmas celebrations. It is a symbol of normalcy during the pandemic, and I love turning off all the lamps and enjoying our glowing tree. I’m also thankful for technologies of today so we can keep in touch with loved ones until we can be together again. We have suffered some losses this year and I’m melancholy about holiday celebrations, but my spirits are held high by the birth of our first grandchild in March 2021. We have to focus on the good. Wishing you all the best this Christmas season, friend.

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