Traditionally in the United States and in many countries across the world, Christmas is celebrated with the presence of a Christmas tree. The tradition dates all the way back to the Romans who decorated their houses and trees in celebration of the Winter Solstice; this year I myself pondered the meaning of the Christmas tree and dreamed of what the quest for one of these coniferous evergreen trees might bring.
The story begins in late November while I was heading back to Bloomsburg with many boxes and bags. It took a while, but after some effort and with the assistance of a good friend all the luggage was back in my room. During the process of making my bed, restocking the food supply, and putting my clothes away took, I sat down and relaxed, for a brief moment.
In that sweet moment it hit me that something was amiss. After a fruitful Thanksgiving break, the room seemed somewhat sparse and lonely. In just a day it would be December, with holiday cheer on its way, I found myself yearning for a perfect Christmas, just like the ones I used to know. iTunes, sensing my distress worked its magic,
as it always does, and shuffled Bing Crosby’s “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” to me. A silver bell went off in my head and I knew exactly what I had to do.
The following day at the weekly BU Now meeting I inquired as to where would be the best place to acquire a Christmas tree. Dr. Ganahl, BU Now’s fearless advisor, being a 15 year resident of Bloomsburg knew just the place. With this tidbit of valuable information I blindly setup plans to make the drive to a majestic place, unfortunately not quite in walking distance.
The angel who was able to drive me there ended up raining fire upon my plans, nearly burning out my Christmas spirit. The journey to get a tree was out the window and I felt as if this angel turned Grinch had ruined Christmas.
With the power of hindsight I found the true meaning of Christmas in that second silver bell, a test
in steadfastness to be dedicated enough to continue my hunt for the Christmas tree.
Stepping into the town Dollar General with my friend, was reminiscent of embarking on a journey into Narnia. There were toys and candy everywhere, as if Santa had moved his workshop to Bloomsburg. After spending nearly an hour filling the cart with tinsel and toys, I wheeled up to the register to check out. To the left of the register was a half full toys for tots box. Spontaneously and quite excitedly I ran back to the toys section and had the joy of being able to pick out a few more toys. Though I wouldn’t get to play with them, placing the toys in this bin I had the satisfaction of knowing one of the toys might make the day of some child growing up.
Arms full and feeling like Santa Claus we began the hike back up the mountain to the dorms. Dropping a gallon of orange juice in front of a beautiful girl passing by, reminded me that I didn’t have the balance of a reindeer. Following this incident I allowed my friend the honor of carrying most of my purchases. After taking well over four hours to build and decorate the tree, then wrapping the presents underneath, it was time to show the world this amazing symbol.
Sitting here today around the Christmas tree with friends and a mug of hot chocolate (with the marshmallows) I realize that this quest was much more than a hunt, it was a lesson as to what is truly important in life. A lesson that taught me; good things take a time and being able to enjoy the frigid air is more important than freezing your hands and toes off.
But above all, I learned something we all can learn from the Grinch-like angel friend of mine. Christmas isn’t about the gifts or the boxes the bags or even the fancy lights. And this year more than ever it is about enjoying the company of friends and having the opportunity to sit around a Christmas tree relaxing with hot chocolate for one brief moment.