In 1996, Gi and I were facing our first Christmas in our home. We had just moved in a few months before. As Christmas Day was counting down on our calendar we opted to put our house budget to making sure Tim would have presents to open and not worry about a Christmas tree unless we could find one that was inexpensive. I wasn’t on the Police Department yet, and I felt inadequate to give Gi and Tim a Christmas tree. I thought maybe a small ceramic tree would suffice, but Gi wanted a real tree for Tim and stood her ground on what she wanted.
We both grew up with live trees decorating our homes; she wanted Tim to have nothing less. It was a few days before Christmas and we were finishing our present shopping, food shopping, paying bills, and looked at the trees that were being sold on street corners and in the parking lots of the shopping centers. Our collection of ornaments were made up of decorations we had given each other, received from family, and what was given to Timmy for his first Christmas.
We walked home, Tim in his stroller snuggled up in blankets and a warm coat and hat. I opened the door and on the living room floor was an eight foot Christmas tree. Gi followed in with Timmy in her arms.
“How did this get here?” She said as she put Timmy down.
“I don’t know.” I rolled the tree over to look it over. “No one breaks into a house and leaves something.”
Timmy looked at the tree and tried to help me roll it over again.
Within a half hour the tree was up in a stand, as we hung ornaments on the branches.
We wondered who gave us the tree. Gi called her sister and brother who lived nearby; no one knew anything about the tree.
It was Christmas Eve, Joe – Gi's sister Meg’s fiancé came over to the house. He looked at the tree. He gave a satisfying look at the Tannenbaum. “It’s amazing what you get for Christmas. No house should be without a Christmas tree.”
Joe had bought the tree and used a spare key we had given him to bring it in. Joe died almost two years later in a tree accident. I think about that first tree every Christmas. I think of Joe’s gift, as I am now.
I believe in Father Christmas.