What Makes a Christmas Tree Beautiful?

Is it the shape of its branches?

The color of its twinkling lights?

The sparkle of the ornaments?

The number of presents beneath it?

My tree, although large, has seen many Christmas seasons come and go. Each year, when we pull it out of the garage and remove its storage coat, the branches become a little more weak, a little limper, and more transparent. This season, our old reliable tree stands a little less erect and prefers a slight lean to the right. (Kinda like me) But it is a proud tree, one that continues to carry the weight of its ornaments. (Again, kinda like me.)

My ornaments sparkle, but not from the lights. They sparkle withs the reflection of times past.

Some remind me of activities I once did.

Or that I still do.

Others remind me of places I have been.

Some memorialize my parents.

I see my children when they were young,

and the ornaments they made long before they became parents.

I see my four-legged friends that I have lost years before.

And the one I have recently lost.

I see faces of my friends when I hang their gifted ornaments.

And some ornaments I chose simply because I thought them beautiful.

Thank you, old reliable Christmas tree for holding my memories.

If you have a Christmas tree, what do you like about it?

Original Christmas Song for Your Little One

I wrote this many years ago when I was the director of a Child Development Center.

The tune is to “I’m a Little Teapot.” Happy singing!

I’m a little Christmas tree short and stout

see my branches sticking out

Decorate with tinsel and colored lights

my star on top is shining bright (speak: blink, blink, blink, blink)

See the presents under the tree

One is for you and one is for me

tear off the paper

pull off the bow

Santa’s been here, HO HO HO!

Lyrics by Carolyn Dennis-Willingham

Yes, Virginia, There Is

Back then, I waited on pins and needles. Not “tenterhooks”.

I’d never heard of such a word.

When I was a youngster, the big stress of Christmas was waiting.

Waiting to put up the tree.

Waiting to to see the traditional lighted candy canes line the neighborhood streets.

Waiting on Christmas Eve to spot Santa in the sky as my sister pointed.

Waiting to get home from Christmas Eve services to open presents.

Back then, the magic simply happened.

Beginning around 3 or 4 decades ago, it was I who became the magician, the puppeteer, the puller of strings to recreate a tradition.

Today, the magic for me is seeing the joy, the excitement and the sparkle of light in my grandchildren’s eyes as they witness the marvel of Christmas as it “simply” happens.


For those of you who are unfamiliar with the inspirational news article written in 1897, please read, Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus


photo credit

via Tenterhooks



Once again, my sister has come through. (And wait for the “punchline!”)

Pat bought me the perfect gift for Christmas. (She has read my historical fiction novels, the last one set in 1901.) Upon closer inspection, it became even better!

First, this: 






Bad Ass Carolyn