A Snake Grass Christmas Tree in June: Childhood Imagination
Yep. Settling well into June and there’s a Christmas tree sitting in my living room. A snake grass Christmas tree. Why, you ask? Toddlers. That’s why.
Or rather, toddler.
You see children have this magical way of seeing things and making fantastic connections that they may keep expanding on given the space and time to work them out. That’s why play is so important to childhood. Working through concepts over and over to understand and expand on what’s going on there. But I’m getting off topic. The snake grass turned Christmas tree in my living room. Right.
Snake grass. Do you know what that is? Does it line the roads where you live? It’s all over the place here on Salt Spring Island. I remember it being abundant on Vancouver Island, too, and learning about it first in my biology courses before ever noticing it all around me. That’s the way it works sometimes. Or, most of the time. I tend to be oblivious until someone points fairly obvious things out. But again, I digress.
Snake grass is this really neat bushy grass slash reed vegetation thingy (super scientific, I know) that looks just like a dead snake when it’s trampled over at the side of the road. It’s long, skinny segments make it look like a serpent, even when standing tall. I pointed this out to my little one recently, and today as we passed by some coming home from the lake, she asked to pick some. Being that there is clearly no shortage of snake grass, I helped her pick one. I hope I didn’t break any great wildlife rule, but I did and I don’t feel sorry, so that’s that. Let’s carry on.
Holding up her new prize, she took one look at the scraggly “branches” of grass sticking straight out from the snake-like core and declared “I want to bring it home for a Christmas tree!” She was thrilled at the thought of decorating it. When we got it home, carefully clutched all the way, she brought it up into the house and decided it should be placed in the same spot as our Christmas tree back in December. Searching for something to stand up this little “Christmas tree” in, one of Daddy’s work boots was chosen (ah, that Christmassy sweaty-feet smell), and the little tree was erected as best as could be (already the snake grass had started to flop).
Then came the decorating. At first dismayed that she couldn’t use our regular Christmas ornaments on her little tree, as it was far too delicate to support ceramics and the like, she settled into carefully placing small strands of yarn (I knew I saved all my scraps for a reason! Hoarding for the win!) around her precious tree. As she worked, deliberately and intently, for several minutes all on her own, she declared that this was because “Santa needs it”. It’s going to be interesting seeing how her own perception of “Santa” is shaped, as we are not intentionally working to create a belief in the jolly old soul, but instead are allowing her to create her own concept of what Christmas is about and the characters and beliefs that lie within the season. Clearly, Santa is already a key player.
As children are want to do, after a while of admiring the newly decorated Christmas tree, Little Z picked it up out of the boot and, after twirling around with it for a few spins, reverently handed it to me an d said “I made it for you!” As I was communicating my pleasure in receiving such a carefully crafted and special gift, Z noticed her “Mousie” laying on the floor a few feet away and suddenly changed her mind. Grabbing up her stuffed mouse, she sweetly carried it over to show Mousie the tree she had made just for her, and offering both parts of the conversation (“Here you go, Mousie! I made this for you!” “Oh, thank you!” “You’re welcome, Mousie!”) she helped Mousie’s hands to pluck up the tree from my hands and carried it off to rest with Mousie.
Children. Always a good reminder about the ebb and flow of life, and the sudden 180 degree changes that can happen in a second. What is given can be (and often is) taken back.
So, today is all about Christmas here. The tree has found a new stand in a vase (Daddy needed his boots to go to work), and chatter of Christmas is running through our morning activities.
Christmas in June. With a snake. Who would have thought? Ah, the magic imagination of children.
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