We put up our tree this afternoon during that delightful window between the afternoon naps and dinner. The tree is named Herbie the Fourth. We found him this morning at our local Boys and Girls Club. He is a perfect height for our apartment, and he has a nice, full shape. He is also perfectly scrappy - with more than a few dry needles.
Our Very First Tree
In 2008, we found Herbie the Original on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn. He was our first Christmas tree. I'm not sure why we waited until 2008 to get our first Christmas tree. My husband and I had been living together since 2004, and we got married in 2006. We had been trying to get pregnant for what felt like a long time by December 2008. So perhaps we had started to think of ourselves as family in a way that we had not before.
Because we had not ever put up a Christmas tree together, we had no ornaments to decorate the tree. My husband and I went to the Union Square Holiday Market to see what we could find there. It feels funny to buy Christmas ornaments, especially for your first Christmas tree. My husband and I both think of the ornaments you put on your tree as little homemade pieces of your family's past. They come from a box in your basement, not a store (or a tent in Union Square). But there we were, at the beginning of what would become our own family's "past," at the Holiday Market looking for ornaments that would feel right.
We decorated the tree that night, and when it was time to top the tree, we did not have a star. We had a taxi - which seemed right for our New York Christmas Tree, Herbie.
About a month later, we found out I was pregnant with our little Fraggle Bug.
In 2009, we did not get a tree. We were completely immersed in first baby time, which meant I didn't know what month it was for several months.
(Here's another example: we were out for a beer with friends about five weeks after Bug was born. One of the friends mentioned wanting to watch the World Series. I asked who was playing. He asked if I was kidding. The Yankees had won the World Series that year.)
In 2010, we got a tree again: Herbie, Jr. We played Christmas music; we decorated; we made a video of decorating. The taxi topped the tree.
In 2011, we got Herbie, III. We found Herbie, III on Clinton Avenue in front of a church near Lafayette. We had Bug in the stroller, Squish in a carrier, and my husband walked Herbie, III several blocks home to our apartment. We played Christmas music. I tried to get Bug to make some ornaments with me. We made sparkly pipe-cleaner candy canes, a construction-paper-ring chain, and several snow flakes and Christmas tree cut-outs. Squish sat in a bouncy seat, and Bug helped me to decorate the tree, topped by our taxi. My husband took pictures. Squish had arrived only two and a half months before, but that night of decorating stands out in my memory as one of great peace, calm, and warmth.
A Family Tradition, Firmly Established
Today, we found Herbie the Fourth. When Bug woke up from his afternoon nap, my husband started the Christmas music and the boys and I started to decorate. We reached into the box (from the basement), unwrapped the ornaments, and started to hang them on the tree. After several false starts I realized we were going to need some snacks this year. After my husband supplied the crackers for Bug and Squish, the decorating went into full swing. Soon enough it was time to top the tree, and Bug said he wanted to do it. My husband lifted Bug up to reach the top, and Bug (my little Bug!) put the taxi at the top of Herbie.
This morning, my husband and I pointed at our tree at the same time and asked each other, "What about that one?!?" We smiled and looked at the tree together, and I said, "Yes. That is our Herbie." I have thought to myself that perhaps I should give the tree a different name every year. After all, every year it is a different tree. But this year, when Bug topped Herbie with the taxi, I realized our tree will always be named Herbie.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.