Oh Christmas Tree!

Wherever we go
we take Christmas with us.

christmas2012One small cardboard box of decorations.
Punched tin decorations
from San Miguel de Allende.
A wooden Saint Nicholas from Budapest.
A caganer and Caga Tio from Barcelona.
Three red reindeer
and a bowl of gaudy red ornaments
bought in Bangkok.
A Nativity scene made from celadon pottery
in Chiang Mai.

On a Sunday in late-November
Bing Crosby sings “White Christmas”
as I dismantle the front closet
trying to reach the box at the back.
I’ve managed to block
the entrance to the apartment
with a pile of our suitcases.
DP says,
“Going somewhere?”

The decorations are wrapped
in yellowing newspaper
from four different countries.
It crackles and sighs
as I extricate each memory
of Christmases
and countries

The folks at Better Homes and Gardens
would likely not approve
of this holiday display.
And yet it makes me happy.

ChristmasCompositeWe do not have
a Christmas tree.
In Japan,
that’s not so much
a decision
as a deep bow
to the tiny space
in which we live.
Get a tree…
lose a couch
or a bed
or the stove.

It’s easy to be Zen
about eighty square metres.

We always travel at Christmas.
To seek adventure (and new art)
in Hong Kong and Istanbul
or to stay very still in Ubud.
So you see how a Christmas tree

Still… I miss it.
(As it turns out,
humans are not always
entirely rational creatures.)

On Christmas Eve,
we were writing and reading
in our room.
I checked Twitter
which seemed not so-Christmassy
except for this tweet
from Jian Ghomeshi:

An invitation for Canadians
to share images of their Christmas trees.
A forest of photos
arrived from small towns
and hustle-bustle cities.
Brockville, Ajax, Niagara, Stratford,
Winnipeg, Cape Breton, somewhere in British Columbia,
Labradour, Saint John, Vancouver,
and my hometown of Ottawa.

#treetweets of beautiful trees.
Oh, how my heart ached
with both belonging
and being away.

And although we were treeless,
I wanted to join
the Great Canadian Christmas tree party.

Monna Xmas tweetRetweeting as fast as he could,
Jian shared the Christmas tree conversation
which spread to every province
and territory
and to far-away Canadians
dreaming of home.

Peter Gzowski
is smiling.


  1. Dear Monna,

    I got to know your blog through Freshly Pressed some time ago. I love your writing. It is very sensitive and down to earth at the same time.

    I have a Japan blog of my own and have included you in my blog roll, so that others may also find their way to your beautiful blog.

    All the best


    1. Thank you, Haruko-chan, for your lovely comment. Your observation that my writing is “very sensitive and down to earth at the same time” is precisely the balance I am trying to achieve; thank you for seeing that.

      In a small world story, I was reading your blog at the same moment that you were leaving me this comment. I will also be adding your beautiful blog to my list of lovely blogs.

      Happy holiday!


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