Holiday Tree

The Promise of a 7-Foot Fir Tree

When you step back and think about bringing a 7-foot, live tree into your house and hanging trinkets on it, it seems a bit odd. Even more perplexing is how a Douglas Fir, standing indoors and isolated from its former forest mates, can offer a deep sense of human connection.

But so it is.

These are a few of my favorite things

Holiday OrnamentsFinding a “perfect” tree is not about symmetrical dimensions or decorating with showy ribbons and perfectly-spaced lights. My tree holds memories of my life, connecting me to those who helped shape me. It also gives hope for what’s ahead.

Every single ornament I lovingly place upon the needled branches represents a lifetime of people, places, and experiences I treasure. Some of the bobbles were purchased, many were gifts, and others have been handed down from ancestors. Each delicate ornament takes me back in time as I unfold the tissue paper surrounding it.

For instance, the 10-cent tags still hang from the bulbs my grandmother purchased at the dime store. And there’s my name etched on a glass bulb, care of my first-grade teacher. On a blown eggshell, my high school teacher painted tiny giraffes to reflect my love of the animal. I laugh at the sight of a hand-stitched gingerbread house. It was crafted by my college roommate in honor of our hysterical and failed attempt to make them one year.

My late mom’s handwriting, etched on the boxes of the treasures she gifted me over the years, offers familiarity and connection. And each year, my husband adds to my menagerie with a surprise ornament tied to a hobby, interest, or shared adventure from our travels. Animals, nature, and hand-crafted items are prevalent and each of them tell their own story. Despite how the ornaments have grown in number, I almost always know which one is in which box.

Plans are postponed but not promise

This year, our plans to spend time with our families have been postponed. So for now, it’s even more important to find connection with memories from the past and plan for our dreams in the future.

The naturalist John Muir once said, “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” My Christmas tree gives me a sense of place, of belonging, of being home. It’s my clear way into the Universe because I feel an abundance of gratitude for all that has passed and intense promise for what is ahead.

This holiday, I hope you revel in the things that bring you joy so that you, too, can find hope and promise for 2021.

Here’s to your Graceful Leadership!


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