a Women Writers' Showcase
by Tina Portelli

I love trees and hate to see their life cut short because of Christmas. Tortured branches with weight of heavy ornaments, risking fire, fighting to stay alive.   In years of my youth, a tree was placed in our home for us to decorate and enjoy.  The process involved did not concern me, it was the end result I was interested in, Christmas spirit.

When I came to live on my own, I still craved the spirit, but it seemed like too much trouble to continue this tradition just for myself.  After all, who would see the tree but me?  I thought it not important enough to make the effort for myself, so opted to enjoy the trees of friends.   I remember those as melancholy holiday seasons emphasizing my aloneness. It has been ten years now since I have created my own Christmas tree tradition.  I search for the perfect rotund tree, not feeling guilty that by purchasing this creation of nature I am guilty of encouraging tree murder.

But I need my fix of holiday spirit too, to see all things in a whiter bright light at least once a year.  This labor of love is done two weeks before Christmas, always on a Friday night.  I carry my tree to  the fourth floor of my low ceiling apartment.  Pine needles trail the hall into my bedroom where I place the tree on a small round  table by my bed.  My pine fragrant,  hundred light bush serves as my temporary table lamp.

I break open a bottle of wine, pull out the dusty decoration box, turn on Nat King Cole, and I am ready to work.  This is not an easy task for a tiny person, but with the aid of my kitchen chair I am able to get that angel straight on top.  I do not spend much money on tree ornaments, a row of ribbons have become my unique decorating signature.  With my cats chasing every ribbon, every moving object, I am having real fun.

After I have swept the needles, tossed the empty cartons, shut the overhead lights, I race to the shower, jump into my Christmas pajamas, boil some tea, sit and inhale the joy of my creation.  I no longer feel it a waste to do all this for myself, even if Christmas is meant for children. When my hard work is done and the lights are lit, I am lit as well.  The beauty of it all overwhelms me and I am a child again, if only for a night.

These weeks before Christmas, it is a joy to come home, plug in the lights, turn on the music and sit, with my tree by me.  No presents are needed, just the warm glow and the peaceful know, I did it for myself.

And if I get lucky,  perhaps some beautiful snow.

Tina says: "I am 54, single and live in Brooklyn, NY.  I work in Manhatthan as a full time office manager.  My writing is a newly found passionate hobby. I get my ideas from personal experiences and the adventures of family and friends.  I have never taken a writing class, but three years ago I started practicing meditation.   I attribute my newfound passion of writing to that practice, meditation gave me a clear and open mind.  No better friend than the soul of my pen." Contact Tina.