Since first becoming a mom I’ve taken deep pride in keeping traditions from my own childhood alive with my daughters. Our favorite holiday to-do’s always include baking cookies for Santa, doing a “dressed-up” lunch-plus-shopping trip and going to a local lot to pick out our real Christmas tree. This year, I’ve made a decision that backpedals on my longtime preachy big-talk about real trees and the importance of family traditions: We now have fake Christmas tree.
It’s flocked. It’s flourishing. It’s fabulous. And I feel like a big fat phony.
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I’ve never had a fake tree — ever. For nine years, my daughters and I would run up and down the aisles of pine needles to compare and negotiate which trees were prettiest, which ones would fit in our corner, which ones smelled the best. My husband didn’t get it. “Just join the rest of the world and get a fake one already!” he’d laugh. He hated the inevitable mess in our den as I’d manually lace hundreds of lights through the branches. I always argued, “If you don’t have pine needles all over your floor, it’s not a real Christmas!”
What changed my mind this year? Life. The beginning of 2018 launched a slide of lost jobs (me), a broken arm (my daughter), a fender-bender (me), a shattered knee with no walking for two-plus months (my husband) and weird unexpected worries and conflicts I can’t get into here — countless emotional, mental and physical pitfalls to figure out and get past. Reinventing my usual holiday formula will surely usher in a renewed energy and spirit, right? Right.
Our most important jobs as moms is to keep getting up, solve problems quickly and create family happiness through stability — this includes being gentle with ourselves when we most need it, regardless of what our opinion may have been about something previously. I used to smack-talk fake Christmas trees, but a sparkling, plastic winter-white sapling (with 800 lights already on it!) proved to be one of my best solutions this year — for my sanity.
We popped it up and my girls and I decorated it together, at night, with our best Christmas music blasting — our tradition. “So we’re not going to pick out a real one, Mommy?” they asked, after we all oooh-ed and aaah-ed about how beautiful and easy and fun our new tree was. “Maybe we can find a small one, for old time’s sake...” I smiled. And I meant it.
Jill Simonian was born and raised in Fresno and is creator of TheFabMom.com. She is author of ‘The FAB Mom’s Guide: How to Get Over the Bump & Bounce Back Fast After Baby’ for first-time pregnancy. Connect with Jill on Facebook and Instagram @jillsimonian.