Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Evolution of The Berry Christmas Tree--Updated

This is our 9th Christmas as a married couple, and as we enjoyed all the festivities of the season, we couldn't help but reflect on what a long way we've come in terms of our Christmas tree.
During our first year, we lived in a less than 600 sq. foot apt in Pasadena as poor grad school students. Since we knew we wouldn't be spending the actual holiday in California, we decided to go with the minimalist theme...
These were all decorations we had around our house that we 'Christmas-ized'. Rudolph is really a giraffe brought back from Africa, the reindeers are gazelles cut out of bull horns brought back from Cuba, Santa is a Socrates statue brought back from Greece, his sleigh is adapted from Cuban cigar boxes, the Christmas tree is the most local item, picked up in some store Charleston, and the elves are Sri Lankan elephants made out of coconut shells. We had a ball putting this stuff together, and were very proud of our little scene.

We moved back to Greenville by the next Christmas, and since we both were bringing home some sort of paycheck, we decided to splurge and buy a real tree at a lot. We were loving it until I found out I was pregnant and my sniffer went on high alert. Every time I walked into our apartment, I almost puked at the smell of evergreen. We also found out that our base had a leak in it, so the water was getting all over the carpet and mildewing! Yuck! It took a lot of cleaning power, but we eventually got the smell out from both, and I was given some relief. This picture was taken while we were still in our tree honeymoon stage. The cute couple next to us is Austin and Chelsey Holmes.Our third Christmas tree was again done on a budget. We had just bought a house, had a baby, and relinquished my paycheck so I could stay home with the baby. So Christmas was low-key, and our tree was borrowed from Brandon's parents. We have high ceilings, and this little thing was only about 5.5 feet or maybe 6. We had to put it on a box just to give it a little presence in our living room! Here, our friends Jodie and David Smith show off their precious gift from God, Avery.
Finally, we come to the Big Kahuna of Christmas trees. My cousin, Jimmy and his wife, Debbie have always been extremely generous, and we have benefited from their generosity on more than one occasion. One year after Christmas we were visiting them in Charlotte and they were taking down their beautiful 10 foot pre-lit tree and decided that they were through with it. They offered it to us and said they'd give it to Goodwill if we didn't want it, but warned us that it had a string of lights that never came on and they always had to turn it so it wouldn't be seen. We had no idea how we'd get it home in our already stuffed Honda, but Brandon and Jimmy bagged it up and we all made it home to Greenville. I hit the after-Christmas sales and got some ornaments and we put it up in the attic until the next year. When we got it out, we remembered there was a strand of lights out, but fortunately I guessed right on the first bulb and fixed it in 5 seconds, and we had a fully functioning beautiful tree. It took some getting used to with the Clark Griswold size, but after we had it decorated and lit up, we were both mesmerized and loved it! We enjoyed it like this for a few years, before we moved to Charlotte.
Here's Brandon with Ella putting the angel on top.

 In 2011, we found ourselves in a rental home in Charlotte and pregnant (again)! The ceilings in this home were a standard 8 or 9 feet, and there was NO WAY we would be able to put up the whole tree. Thankfully, my genius husband figured out that we could use all but the bottom (and biggest) portion, and make it work. The picture below looks cut off, but so did the tree. There was absolutely no room to do an angel on it for two years, but we still enjoyed the tree and especially loved to see people's faces when they walked into our home to see this humongous beast of a tree taking up most of our front music room.

And this year is our first year in our new home which happens to boast 10 ft ceilings, perfect for bringing back the tree in all it's glory. This year we tried to set aside some time to put it up right after Thanksgiving, but between ministry obligations and three small children's random needs and requests we realized it was going to take a lot longer to put up and together than we had previously thought. And, this was the year that most of our white lights decided not to work. Three strands were out on the tree and most of our random other decorating strands also went Ka-put. Awesome. Caroline, our almost 2 year old learned a few new phrases in the process: "No, no touch" and "I broke it". We laid a few ornaments to rest, and vowed to only buy unbreakable ones for the next few years. But that's part of the fun of it, right? Plus, our angel is happy to be back in business this year.

It's so fun to see how God has blessed and grown our family, expanding our capacity for love in our family as h

1 comment:

Lauren Blake said...

wow that is some tree! i know what you mean about the Lord providing through people. It is such a blessing how He does this way so that we need each other and Him.