The half naked Christmas tree

Mary Galford Rudolph Hyland's

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As a Rudolph, our family takes Christmas very seriously. We have many fun traditions surrounding the holiday, but my favorite is the tradition of the half naked Christmas tree.

This is my first Christmas as a grandmother, a title I’ve not-so-patiently waited for. My strong, independent 11 month old granddaughter loves to sit beneath our beautifully decorated, half naked Christmas tree to study the differently colored lights. Joy and love fill my heart when I see her. She greets me with a welcoming sound, a big smile, and a giant tug on the tree branch she sits under.  

I am instantly transported back in time to another house where another baby, my youngest daughter, also claimed a similar spot under our family tree and who began our holiday tradition of half naked Christmas trees almost 25 years ago. We used to barricade the tree to try to make it sturdier and able to withstand a little yanking and shaking. Eventually, we started moving the ornaments to the top half of the tree but leaving the bottom half naked. We now know that it’s best to embrace the half naked Christmas tree rather than worry about having a perfectly decorated tree.

The best part of this process is that we learned that having a half naked tree doesn’t take any magic from Christmas. In fact, by joining our young children under the tree, we learned from them that it is a special place to be sitting on the magical carpet of a silky soft tree skirt, looking up in wonder at the softly twinkling red, blue, and gold tree lights, all the while being surrounded by people who love and respect you.

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Mary Galford Rudolph

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