The kids got all excited when we put the lights on the Christmas tree. I let them decorate it. The East side, middle, is the most decorated part of the tree. The West side is almost naked. There are two stars. It's truly a beautiful expression of the Children's excitement about the holiday.
And what else are Christmas trees for, anyway?
As they were decorating, though, Caleb somehow realized the tree was going to die. This was a very distressing idea to him. He loves our tree, which was a gift from the children in the ward, and he is a very sensitive, compassionate boy (when he was three, he always volunteered to take punishments for Anda when she got in trouble--"I'll go to her room for her." "I'll help clean up the spill." "I'll say sorry for her if she'll stop crying!").
Caleb begged me to hire a babysitter for the tree while we're in Utah so it can get water and won't die. I told him it still will die eventually and someone will recycle it.
The kids spent the rest of the day testing schemes for keeping the tree alive. Maybe if we buy it on Christmas, they said. Maybe if we just keep watering it.
They finally said, "Mom, from now on, we're only going to use plastic trees."
My mother had that idea, too, that Caleb discovered all by himself as a six year old: Christmas is death for trees. Now I look across the room and see my child-decorated, child-loved tree and see tragedy sitting in the corner. Someone killed a living thing and then glorified the killing by stringing lights and colorful bits of useless glass and plastic all over the carcass and declaring it beautiful!
For us, it's plastic trees from here on out.