Christine McDonnell

children’s book author, educator, librarian

McDonnell flower border

An Unusual Christmas

I met my husband Terry in the spring when his son, Garth, was five years old. The winter before, Terry and Garth had spent Christmas alone. Between a busy retail season and getting Garth to and from daycare Terry hadn’t had time to buy a tree. So he covered a wall with paper and drew a tree. Then the two of them made paper ornaments, cut them out and hung them, using notebook reinforcers. They both had such fond memories of that special Christmas! It’s vintage Terry: creative, positive, valuing relationship over ritual, putting magic into an otherwise sad situation just as he did during the months of his cancer treatments.

This year is another strange Christmas: just me and the cats here in snowy, cold Vermont, staying safe during the pandemic. My Christmas decorations and lights are in Boston, and since it’s just me I wasn’t interested in getting a tree. I did manage evergreens and lights on the door for the delivery guys.

Then I noticed this funny little plant growing between the deck and the garage. I dug it up, potted it and brought it in to decorate. Silver ribbon, little pompoms from yarn (remember making these for our ice skates?), knitting markers…a funny little tree.

Surely it’s a relative of that paper tree from years ago.

Unusual Christmas

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