I’ve been looking for our Christmas tree star for the past 3 days. It’s always in the same closet with the tree. The tree is up, ready to be trimmed, and I can’t find our star. It’s not that hard to miss …it’s a tin foil wrapped piece of cardboard that we’ve had for the past 20 years. The box the tree gets stored in is usually its home. Every box was taken out of the closet today and looked in, but I can’t find it anywhere.
A Tale of Two Trees
The Christmas trees of my youth were always perfect. My mother would change the theme up every few years and each tree was better than the last. Even the wrapping paper on our gifts matched the theme. Our Christmas trees were like something out of Better Homes and Gardens; the twinkling lights, delicate crystal ornaments, and stunning tree toppers that sat on the tippy-top of each tree.
When I became a parent, our trees were a little different. The tin foil star made its Christmas debut in December of 1997. We chopped down our own tree that year, dragged it through the woods to our home, and put it in the great room. The top branch of the tree grazed the 12-foot tall beamed ceiling and still needed a star. In our sleep-deprived state, being the parents of a 4 year old and a brand new baby, my husband and I cut a star shape out of the back of a diaper box, threw some foil from under the kitchen sink on it, and taped an empty toilet paper roll onto the back with packing tape so it could hug the top of the tree.
Through the Years
That star was put on the tops of many Christmas trees throughout the years. When our son and daughter were old enough, their dad would lift them high so they could each take a turn putting that star on as the final touch. I have memories of our daughter’s eyes lighting up when it was her turn, and of our son, with his chubby cheeks and Harry Potter glasses, smiling and giggling when it was his turn. It was always the last thing to adorn the tree after the lights were turned on.
Our homemade star sat at its place of honor each December. That tin foil creation was in the background of many winter formal pictures, looking down at all of the kids dressed up, and saw our babies open their gifts each year. It also witnessed a mama’s tears the year that her son couldn’t come home for Christmas because he was at boot camp. It’s been on top of fake trees, real trees, and pre lit trees. It’s been repaired with masking, painting, and packing tape. The foil has long since been crinkled and wrinkled to the point of needing a fresh layer.
The memories I have of that star being put on the tree each year makes my heart happy. Those moments weren’t as poignant as Zuzu Bailey putting a bell on the Christmas tree in It’s a Wonderful Life, or as exciting as when Clark Griswold sang Joy to the World while he lit 250 strings of lights on his house. But they are our memories and part of our story–part of our Christmas story.
Memories Yet to Be Made
I messaged my daughter tonight, asking if she knew where the star could be. In return, she said, “Haha! How many times we’ve had to fix it over the years because we don’t wanna get rid of it!” I tore apart the closet after her message, but still couldn’t find that star.
My children are now 24 and 21, and will both be home for Christmas this year. I can’t wait! I know our holiday celebration will go on without that star being at the top of our tree, but I still wish I could find it! The kids probably don’t even care if there is a star on the tree or not, but I do.
I’m going to go whip up another star. I’ve got foil, some blue painter’s tape, and an empty toilet paper roll. The star can be cut from the Keurig Coffee box that is waiting to be recycled. Yes, there will be a star at the top of our tree this year. I’ll find a safer place to store it in January when I put it away. We are trimming the tree on Tuesday, and there will be a brand new star at the top of it ready to witness this year’s Christmas joy, and the joy of many years to come.