38: Waking the Tree

38: Waking the Tree

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas in Canada

Waking the Tree

It comes every year and will go on forever. And along with Christmas belong the keepsakes and the customs. Those humble, everyday things a mother clings to, and ponders….

~Marjorie Holmes

Winter mornings in Canada are dark and chilly. We wake long before the sun has peeked over the horizon. It is early in the morning, a couple of weeks before Christmas. The hardwood floor is chilly and it creaks under my feet as I enter my daughter’s room to wake her for school. Sometimes it’s hard to get her out from under the warm covers. But during the month of December, my four-year-old wakes willingly. She knows she has an important job to do.

She must wake the Christmas tree.

Holding onto my hand, she walks with me into the living room. The scent of pine hangs in the air. One of our cats stretches and comes to wind around our legs, asking for breakfast. Not yet. We must wake the tree.

“Good morning, Christmas tree!” my daughter says, standing before the tall, dark tree. “It’s time to wake up.”

As she says this, I kneel down and plug in the lights. And the tree awakes.

Soft white lights glow among the branches. Stars, angels, and other ornaments twinkle in the light. My daughter’s face reflects the glow. Her eyes sparkle.

The room no longer seems cold and dark. It has become warm and festive.

When I was a child Christmas was a magical time. I remember the soft light of Advent candles, the twinkle of the Christmas tree lights, hanging my stocking and wondering what Santa Claus would bring. Now, I realize that much of the Christmas magic is what we as parents create for our children. When my daughter wakes the tree, or when we set out cookies and milk for Santa or toss carrots on the front lawn for his reindeer to eat, we are the creators, the magicians. And for me, the joy of Christmas is seeing her delight. It is passing down the magic to her.

Perhaps one day she will be waking in the dark of winter, walking into a quiet bedroom to whisper in the ear of her own sleeping child, “Good morning, sweetheart. Let’s go wake the tree.”

~Anita Grace

Ottawa, Ontario

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