I’ve always loved the Christmas season. When I was growing up, it was a time of wonderful music, laughter, kindness, beauty, and families gathering to share and eat. People seemed nicer, smiled more often, children were the center of attention, and there was a Santa in every store with a waiting lap.
The Christmas I remember best was my father’s last year in the Army before he retired. He was a Colonel in the Special Forces. While Christmas is usually a family day, my parents invited all the single soldiers in his unit over for a feast.
That year I was ten years old and we had the best Christmas tree ever. The tree was covered in lights and tinsel, and wrapped in what was called angel hair from the top to the bottom. It looked like threads of spun glass.
Oh, my! It was the most magnificent tree I have ever seen. It was over seven feet tall. Lights reflected off the angel hair and silver tinsel inside, creating this glowing gem that left me—as a child—in open-mouthed awe. Every time I saw the tree, I would sit on the floor and stare at it.
So, we had this crowd over dinner. Everyone clustered together eating and laughing. Did I join in? No. I was a kid. These were adults. I let everyone have the chairs and sofas, took my plate, and sat in front of that tree, eating before a magical, winter wonderland.