I was released from Intensive Care in the morning of Christmas Eve, 2005. Since my fate was rather unclear during that time, no real arrangements had been made for Christmas at home.
We always put our tree up and decorated it very close to Christmas since we keep it up until New Year's Day, which is not the same as the local tradition of erecting and decorating the tree around the end of November.
My DH and daughter scrambled to do a month's worth of preparations in one afternoon. They took off to find a tree lot that had any trees left at all. No success, but with hope they visited a distant neighbor who grows trees and usually has them for sale in his front yard as well as his wholesale business. All trees had been sold but he had banked his house with leftover trees and trimmings. He gave them one of them, a short, spindly, sad looking tree ..................... but our "pity tree" was the most beautiful tree ever, and they told me I was the best gift ever.
Each year the tree is the best ever, the food the most delicious ever, and the love in our home always feels like it is the most ever. I pray that each and every one has the opportunity to experience such blessings.