The Walmart Tree

I’ve always loved the days after Christmas. Everything is done, and today, the fifth day of Christmas–the “5 golden rings” day–my tree is still up, and I’m appreciating it for perhaps for the first time.


It didn’t start out to be a great tree. When we moved to this small town five years ago, I realized that if I wanted to put up a live tree the day after Thanksgiving, I’d have to drive out of town to find one. In the beginning, that meant driving 75 miles, to San Antonio. Then 25 miles, to Kerrville. This year, I saw that our very own Walmart, just five miles away, had Noble firs the day before Thanksgiving.


I should have driven out of town.


Once we got the tree in the stand, it became apparent that this was perhaps the ugliest Noble fir ever to grace God’s green earth. The trunk was completely crooked. It had gaps in weird places. It required more work than regular trees. We shoved it in the corner, decorated it, prayed the puppies wouldn’t knock it down, and hoped for the best.


Well, here we are, approximately five weeks later, and that tree has lived better than any other tree we’ve ever had. That sucker is still drinking water. As I sit here on December 29, I look at the ornaments (some of which go back to my parents’ first days as newlyweds) and think that this Walmart tree turned out beautiful after all.


Much like my Christmas. Many of you have sent me loving wishes for this first holiday without my mom. And it was a lot like this tree–crooked, with big ole’ gaps. It was a holiday in which I had to work (i.e. cook) harder than ever. Yet, it was also an abundant holiday, with family members I don’t usually see. There were many beautiful moments.


After the Christmas meal had been eaten and the presents had been opened, my dad texted me and said, “But you know, we pulled off something close to perfection.”


That was my Christmas: close to perfection. That was my Walmart tree, too.