Renee Winick mug

Renee Winick

The countdown has begun — there’s one week until Christmas! One of my favorite parts of our family’s holiday tradition is decorating the Christmas tree. Like most things, putting up the Christmas tree has its pros and cons.

The process can be both tedious and touching. Getting the tree in the house, standing upright and lit can be beyond frustrating; but unpacking the ornaments is like unpacking your past, one memory at a time. A few years back, it dawned on me that kids and Christmas trees have a lot in common.

Let’s go over some of the similarities.

They come in all shapes and sizes and all are beautiful in their own way.

It can seem overwhelming when you first decide to get started; then you suddenly find yourself in the middle of it and can’t remember why you hesitated in the first place.

Some people have one, others have a house full, while a third group don’t have any and are content to just enjoy other people’s every now and then.

They teach you that’s it’s possible to love something and still need to take a break from it every once in a while.

They leave a mess everywhere; but when they’re gone the house feels empty.

They’re expensive!

Some folks like theirs all natural, others like to cover theirs in only the finest materials, while many are just happy that they remembered to water theirs today.

Looking at them is like looking at your past, present and future at the same time.

Never, ever compare yours to others! Everything may look shiny and perfect from the street; but everyone has bare spots and burn-outs to deal with, just like you.

It’s not just a one-time cost — the upkeep and updates are what really get you!

Even if you have years of experience, there’s always something new to learn, new techniques to try, new ways to look at things.

They may drive you crazy at times; but they also bring you such joy and are so lovely, you can’t stay mad for long.

Don’t get me started on the cost of all those new gadgets! Best to keep it simple and maybe unplug yours every once in a while.

You eventually get things figured out and have the routine down to a science — then you decide to get a dog or cat.

Their arrival is a cause for celebration, but their removal is not quite as festive. That’s why some folks decide to keep theirs around forever.

I don’t know about you, but I could sit and stare at mine all day. Breathtaking.

And then there is one difference: One is the perfect example of the hope, love, peace and beauty of Christmas. The other is a tree.

I have always enjoyed seeing people’s pictures of their Christmas trees on social media, probably for the same reason that I love seeing photos of their children. Both are lovely in their own unique ways and are a joy to behold.

I hope that you find the unique beauty of the holidays wherever life takes you this season and throughout the year to come. Merry Christmas!

Renee Winick has lived in Prior Lake for nearly two decades, where she resides with her husband and twin son and daughter.