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Every December evening I sit on my couch and admire the view of my bright and lopsided Christmas tree. I enjoy the peace and stillness of the night as the twinkling lights sprinkle magic throughout my living room. The ornaments are hanging too low and there are some sections that are bare. In fact, only half the tree is completely decorated, which makes it lean to one side. Some ornaments are overlapping and some are positioned entirely too high on the tree. It almost looks as if someone played a game of “Pin the Ornament on the Tree” and hoped for the best. It has looked this way for almost 10 years and I’m not sure how I would even feel about a properly decorated Christmas tree. 

I love this beautiful chaos of a tree because my kids decorated it with youthful excitement and confidence.

They hold pride in their duty to decorate a tree that, when finished, will be the opposite of magazine-worthy. Each year they get more independent and insist they know the best place to hang the various ornaments. I don’t have the heart to tell them that their ornaments are wrongly placed because they feel like they are creating a Christmas masterpiece all on their own. They don’t care what anyone else thinks of their decoration strategy or how many “likes” it could get on social media. They just care about the moment and that we are decorating it together.

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Social media is full of gorgeously decorated Christmas trees that are perfectly color-coordinated and would probably win holiday awards. Then I turn on a Hallmark movie and see those same Instagram-worthy Christmas trees with the correctly spaced ornaments and expensive tree toppers . . . and the envy begins to creep in. Ahh, it would be so nice to have one of those department store display trees transferred directly to my living room on display for the neighbors to see.

But then I look at my messy tree and all five senses come alive.

I hear the laughter in each ornament that was placed there by my son. I see the smile in the lights that delight my daughter. I smell the hot chocolate that we make while we decorate together. I hear the Christmas music playing in the background as we discuss the memory of each ornament (and do our silly dances). I can already taste the cookies baking in the oven. I feel the love of two sweet little children who still believe in the magic of the season

Then I remember that one day they will grow up and have Christmas trees and family traditions of their own.

And one day I’ll be able to hang up expensive ornaments and the tree won’t lean to one side. But it won’t be the same because it will be missing something. Yes, it will be beautiful, but it won’t hold the same magic of two little believers whose sweet hands decorated it out of pure love and enjoyment.

RELATED: Your Kids Will Remember How Christmas Felt, Not How It Looked

I do look forward to someday having a fancy Hallmark tree, but for now, I’ll enjoy every moment of our chaotic tree and hope it doesn’t fall over.

Our Christmas tree is not going to win any awards or attract any social media engagement, but there are two little ones who unabashedly love this tree and that’s enough for me.

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Amanda Schwenk

Amanda is a mother of two and a lifelong learner. She loves writing, running, hiking, and chasing adventures. She enjoys writing product reviews and sharing her experiences on her blog: www.theswagmama.com.

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