It’s been awhile since I’ve spent a Christmas on Edisto Beach. As much as I love the beach, it’s hard to forget all the white Christmases of my youth, so my family and I generally spend the holidays up north. However, some of my best Christmas memories come from spending time on Edisto.
The first Christmas I spent at the beach was in 1997. I was excited to be in the area, but I just couldnt get over the fact that we didn’t have a Christmas tree. Not that Christmas trees aren’t available on Edisto, they certainly are, but we didn’t have any of our ornaments or even a Christmas tree stand with us, so my parents said we didn’t need one. Well, that was just unacceptable to me.
I spent the entire drive to Edisto (12 hours) complaining that my childhood was in shambles because there would be no tree to put presents under. Okay, maybe not the entire 12 hours, but a good bit of it. Once we got to our house, I was excited to be there, but quickly made sure to hide my smile so that my parents would know I was still upset over the tree-less festivities. I may or may not have continued to complain about the tree for the rest of the day (it’s hard admitting to such bratty behavior even now, a million years later).
So I went to bed with visions of sugarplums and Christmas trees dancing in my head. The next morning I got up to see both of my parents grinning ear to ear. Apparently, they had gotten me a tree.
I looked around the house (which has an open floor plan so there was no way I could miss the addition of a pine needle symbol of Christmas joy), but I didn’t see the tree. As I asked where the tree was, my parents started walking toward me with something.
It was the tree. And it was pathetic.
This tree was about a foot tall and had an odd burlap sack type bulb at the base. It was trimmed with lumpy plastic berries and a crooked star at the top, all of which were permanently attached.
My parents were still grinning; I was giving them a look of disgust that only a teenager can give. Needless to say, the tiny fake tree did not suffice.
I can look back now and know that a tree didn’t matter; after all, I was with my family and friends at our beach house at the most beautiful beach on the planet, but nobody ever claimed to be all rational and wise as a teenager.
Looking back now, I don’t even remember what presents I got that year (which surely did not fit under the world’s smallest tree). What I do remember is that we had a big meal with the entire family and our best friends. We took leftovers to the beach the next day and had a picnic. My dogs played in the surf and lapped up so much water they got sick. My brother dared me to go into the water and I got in all the way up to my waist before panicking that I’d catch hypothermia.
Most of all, I remember that I wanted a tree and my parents got me one. It wasn’t the one I wanted, but it was still a tree. Even I had to admit it became funny after the fact.
Although I don’t spend Christmas Day at the beach house anymore, I still decorate before I leave. And that tiny tree comes out every year and sits on the mantle.
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