Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Alternative Christmas / Holiday / Solstice Trees

When I first started my legal practice I worked from home. Not a home office, but home. I set up my desk, computer and books in a corner of our 750 square foot apartment. For client meetings, I went to the client. Yes, I was a lawyer who made house calls. As my practice has grown and become more established, I now rent a small space near our home. It is there meet clients (although I will still make house calls when needed).

There are a few things I miss about those visits to clients' homes. One, the clients with dogs. I grew up with dogs, but have none in my current life. A dog fix was wonderful. I also enjoyed glimpsing how other people lived. Home decorations, gardens, etc....One couple stands out in my memory.

Both academics with jobs on the UW-Madison campus. A small home within walking, bus, or biking distance of campus. They'd raised two kids being a one car family. It was about this time of year that I visited them, and upon entering the house I saw the most amazing Christmas, or Holiday, or Solstice Tree (call it what you like) in the living room. I was too frugal to have a phone with a camera back then, otherwise I'd post a photo. Using rolls of toilet paper and holiday lights, the family had constructed the most utilitarian tree you can imagine. Quickly I came to learn their story.

Years ago, when their children were small they vacationed to Mexico over the Christmas holiday. Wanting a touch of Christmas they fashioned several wire coat hangers together, added some lights, and had the first in a line of alternative Christmas trees. Over the years trees were formed from used water bottles, shingles from a roofing job on their home, and that year rolls of toilet paper. The plan was to take the tree down after the holiday and divide up the presents. I was not surprised to learn that both children had grown up and entered "creative professions". One a writer, the other graphic design.

So, if you are looking to save money, walk lightly on the earth, and instill creativity into the next generation I challenge you to take the same path as my former clients.

Photo credit: - free image.

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