Keeping Things Real With My Humble Little Tree

By Nikki Tilley | December 25, 2022
by Nikki Tilley
December 25, 2022

A lot of people celebrate the holiday season with festive lights and décor. Lord knows my mom was one of them with so many lights you’d think the neighborhood itself was on show. And then there are the gardeners with nifty displays and crafty gifts from their harvests. My mother did a little of that too. Unfortunately, I don’t have any holiday related traditions from the garden per se, but I do have a garden holiday of sorts.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve done my fair share of decorating with plants from the garden over the years. That being said, it was a Facebook post I came across a while back that gave me pause. It included pics with decorative Christmas branches used in the home. Instantly I was taken down memory lane to a time long ago when my daughter, then just a year old, and I were alone for Christmas. Times were tough and we didn’t have much. We had no tree. We had no decorations. Heck, we barely had food. But it didn’t stop me from making the occasion special. What I had was imagination, along with inspiration taken from one of my childhood favorites growing up – A Charlie Brown Christmas.

I went outside, picked a pine branch and a few other natural items. I made some decorations and then proudly displayed our humble little “tree” on a table in the corner of our living room. My daughter loved it! It was in that moment that I realized you don’t need to have a lot to create happiness. All you need is whatever you do have, along with a little imagination and lots of love. As time passed and my family grew, I think I lost track of that. But this simple post reminded me once again that life (and the holidays) is what you make it. And to honor that fond memory, I decided to do it again with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree remake.

I now have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree in the form of a large branch plucked straight from the garden. It’s actually one that I keep year-round in a decorative vase. When the holidays roll around, I fill the tiny limbs with mini ornaments. This humble little tree reminds me of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. It keeps me grounded. I’ve since expanded this new-found tradition into the garden, scanning the surroundings for an appealing “branch” to decorate. This one isn’t for my benefit though. It’s strictly for the birds, along with any other critters that may visit the backyard wildlife garden. Hanging from the limbs of this Christmas tree are homemade suet balls and birdseed-covered peanut butter pinecones. Sometimes there’s fruity garland comprised of dried apples and orange slices.

Festive lights and décor are fine, but I prefer to keep things simple. Life is too short for anything else.

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