My First Christmas Tree
When I moved to Europe, I was just nineteen years old. I came with two suitcases, one carry-on, one backpack and a bike. In those suitcases, I had placed very gently an oversized shoe box. In this box were some of my most precious treasures. You see, I moved in October and I knew I wouldn't be going home for Christmas. I needed something special from home to get me through the season. What was in that box? My Ornaments. A strange choice but not if you know that every year since I was born I had received an ornament from my parents and my Grandmother. These ornaments meant my family was with me in spirit wherever I might be and were symbolic; I was creating a new home.
The month of December arrived, and I told my husband we needed a tree. He looked at my sadly and said in a very matter of fact way, "We can't buy one, we have no money!" I argued that we must but as I looked at our meager finances I realized we didn't. I cried and cried. One of my new found German girlfriends heard this story and spread it around thinking it was cute. A local gardener heard about it and was touched. I was driven to his Christmas tree farm and could choose any tree I wanted.
I bumped into that Gardener at a birthday party just last September. He had forgotten about the tree. I told the whole room about his act of kindness. To this day I think of him every Christmas when I buy my tree. I love my tree, and anyone who has been to my home at Christmas knows that my tree is something else ... and full of my memories.
Merry Christmas wherever you might be.
—Allison Ochs Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife