Here's an idea for the parents of young kids. I blew my chance. I could do it now, but my boys are a little old to get the full impact.
It's not a new idea, exactly. Charles Schulz presented it to the world in his Charlie Brown Christmas episode, but in the episode, it happened sort of by accident: Charlie Brown messed up and got an ugly little tree (though, he did intentionally choose a real tree in a sea of aluminium ones). The Peanuts characters discovered, as a result of this accident, that they could make the ugly beautiful.
How great an idea would it be, though, for parents of young kids to purposefully pick out the ugliest Christmas tree on the lot and to bring it home to make beautiful?
I wish we had done it. I can see us standing on the lot, the boys' little eyes searching around. I can see myself saying, "So, what about this tree? It has a big hole on one side...it's crooked on top...it's kind of a weak green. No one is going to buy it, but I'll bet we can make it beautiful..."
Imagine the educational value; the creative power it would have given the boys; the visible evidence of what a family can do together; the acceptance of the idea that life is never perfect but that is can be made more perfect; the lesson in the value of optimism; the conveyance of the message that there is beauty in difference and that there is even beauty in ugliness. "Beauty is truth, truth beauty," after all.
In my mind, I see, nestled in a branch-less gap turned unashamedly toward the front, a little cluster of Nativity figures, gently lit to a buttery yellow by surrounding string lights and I wish that our tree, this year, had such a deformity in it.
Alas. Maybe you can do it with your kids.