Every Christmas, I think back to the first one my husband and I spent together as a newly married couple. We were completely broke. He had just started a new job, and I was waitressing. We couldn’t spend money on a tree, but it didn’t feel like the holidays without one.
The weekend before Christmas we waited for the nightfall, when all the lights from the surrounding apartment buildings had gone out. With only our $19.99 Ginsu knife (we could not afford a saw), we hiked into the snow-filled woods behind our home. There we found a three-foot, barely-better-than-a-Charlie-Brown tree, and sawed through its tiny trunk. We carried it home together, though one of us could have held it single-handed.
We had only the ornaments and lights from my Christmas tree dress, leftover from the Halloween the year we met. Taking out my grandmother’s green wicker sewing kit, I used her seam-ripper to break the threads holding the ornaments and lights onto the dress. Together we decorated our little tree. As a final touch, we tied little bows of white and blue ribbon on the branches.
I think, despite the beautiful trees that we have had since, that will always be my favorite tree ever. We were penniless, with no idea how the future would treat us, but we had each other, and hope for a future together.