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  • WILLIAM A SLOAN

We Three Trees

1,748 ornaments...give or take.



Obsessive? Possibly. Statement making? Absolutely. We have two trees. Two gorgeous, dramatically appointed trees, that glisten and shine and sparkle and go deep. They need their own guide books. They are splendiforous. And they are filled with memories, beauty and love.

For several years while living in a bigger home, we had three. During another season, we had one humongous tree, a tree we bequeathed to our favorite local business which had the ceilings to support such a tree (Ceilings which we no longer had, once we’ d moved).

So, here we are, once again, with multiple trees because the ornaments are too wonderful and the season is too short and everything worth appreciating needs its moment in the spotlight, so that’s what we do – supply the spotlight! And by “we”, of course I mean “The Muse” , because he does all the beauty making, all the heavy lifting. I’m strictly stage crew during pre–Christmas season.

The Living Room Tree


Because, it’s an art, you see. A balancing act. Creating a vision. Building a memory. Establishing a backdrop for photos to remember. It requires time and space and a vision...and focus.

We have a storage unit, half of which is devoted to Christmas storage, and after all these years, we have our unloading, unpacking, re-purposing system down. And every year, as we unpack boxes and awaken the many, many ornaments from their twelve month sleep, we experience moments. Predictable moments...

Oh, here’s the ornament from our first Christmas together; oh, here’s Rich’s Rudolph from when he was a child; oh, here’s Nana Shirl’s hand cross-stitched ornaments; oh, here’s the first angel that...


The TV Room Tree


The holidays, the end of the year, the signing off of 12 months – it’s a special, unique, cyclical time that affects every one, whether we want it to or not. It’s a natural measuring stick. A “How we doin’?” moment.


Well, this year, we’re doin’ just fine, thank you. It’s been quite a year, filled with highs and lows and wonder and sorrow. We survive together, grow together, strengthen together, move forward together. And by “together” I mean as a couple, as a community, as a group of friends, as a family.


We are ridiculously fortunate to have the best family ever, the best friends ever, and as we grow older and the holidays go by, isn’t that really the point? To step back and remember the year, and take in the beauty, and honor the memories, and remember and appreciate, and dream and hope for, and take a moment to say “thank you” and “I remember” and “oh, what a wonderful time...”

The Lounge at Element Tree


Every year, The Muse creates a vision of beauty... or two... or three. Once ours are done at home, he tackles the behemoth at The Lounge at Element, so that everyone can enjoy it and say,"Oh my Christmas! How many ornaments are on that ?! They are symbolic of so many things that have come and gone and so many things that are yet to be. They’re a continuum, a celebration, a remembrance, a heart-swell.


And so, we share them here with you. May you have a wonderful holiday season or whatever kind of holiday season works for you. May you remember and acknowledge and appreciate and grow from and celebrate and cherish and take it all in and, inevitably, say “Thank you.”

Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don’t quite know how to put our love into words.

– Harlan Miller

Less is not more. More is more.

- Dolly Parton

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