December is now upon us and holiday preparations are moving at breakaway speeds in most Canadian households Our home is no different. As I write this, I can see my husband carefully unravel and untangle the outdoor lights, and I think I heard him utter a merry jingle or two. Indoors, we are also preparing our house for the coming celebrations, rituals and traditions, not least of which is putting up our Christmas tree.
As with many families, decorating the tree is a family ritual. Now that my kids are a little older I even let them handle some of the fragile ornaments once in a while – especially that Maple Leafs ball. We now have two post-secondary children but we still await their return home before fully completing the tree decorating. This means their favourite – usually sports-oriented – Christmas ornaments are not placed on the tree until they are home and able to do so themselves.
People tell me it’s not normal for a family of five to somehow cheer for five different NHL teams. People tell me it’s not normal to have Habs, Penguins, Avalanche and Leafs ornaments on the same tree as my Sens ornament. People tell me it’s just not normal that members of my family steal back into the living room after the tree is perfectly decorated and secretly rearrange the Christmas ornaments so that their favourite hockey team ornament is front and centreman. People even tell me it would be normal if I took control of the tree and decorated it myself.
What do I say to that? Well for one thing, two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, is what I say! Our Christmas tree – our hockey tree – is a true representation of our family, messy, unmatched NHL ornaments and all. Through the years, our family has grown – as have the number of ornaments on our tree. Through the years, the hockey rivalries in our family have grown – as have the number of hockey-themed ornaments on our tree. And through the years, someone keeps putting that Leafs ornament front and centre on our tree and moving my Sens ornament to the back of the tree (I know who you are and all I can say is, “Santa’s watching!”)!
I am contemplating our coming festive season and remind my husband to haul all the Christmas boxes out of storage. I also remind myself that I may not have a #UnitedinRed family but for certain have a #UnitedinHockey family. And I am truly grateful that we will all be together again soon. While we all stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand, we welcome Christmas with our hockey tree ornaments and decorate the tree together.
Now… if only the dog’s tail would take care of that Leafs ornament once and for all!
Three cheers for your O Hockey Tree – and may your favourite hockey ornament shine brightly this festive (hockey) season!
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