N’SYNC Christmas

By Beth Pugh

The brown cardboard box was worn at very best. Time had not treated it kindly. It was fraying at the edges with the seams held in place perhaps by sheer prayer alone. The smell of cold air and wet soil wafted through the living room, intensifying every time I moved it to reach the next piece of tape.

My husband and I carefully removed the pieces inside. Wayward pine needles spun to the floor as we lifted each piece. We separated the branches from the base and set aside the red skirt that would hide the metal legs from view. With all the pieces freed from storage, we began to put up the hand-me-down tree from my childhood.

We assembled the base quickly and moved on to the branches. It was a tedious process to slide each individual branch into the designated notch, but with both of us working, it didn’t take too long for the tree to come together. We stood back and took a good long look before starting the never-ending process of decoration. Before us stood a made-to-be-leaf-green-tree painted white with fake snow from a can, courtesy of the artist known as my mother. My mother, taken too soon, just three years prior.

This was the first year I’d put up a tree since her passing, and it was proving to be more difficult than I anticipated. The holidays just hadn’t been the same since she’d slipped from my hands into the arms of the angels just two weeks before Christmas. Despite my grief, I was determined to celebrate this year. Truth be told, I needed to celebrate and push past the depression that wrapped around me like a wet blanket starting near Thanksgiving and carrying through the most wonderful time of the year.

I had much to be joyful for this year, as my husband and I had tied the knot over Memorial Day weekend. It was our first Christmas as husband and wife, and I wanted it to be the best Christmas ever, if not for myself then for him. He deserved it. He single-handedly pulled me through the depths of depression into the joy of living. His love rekindled the happiness I had lost and opened my eyes to the sunlight when all I could see was the darkness of sorrow. Because of him, I finally wanted to enjoy the season instead of wishing it away.

I looked at the tree. Memories of Mom and me decorating in years past came rushing through my mind, carrying with them a tidal wave of mixed emotions. I sat silently on the floor next to the empty box. My husband sat behind me fiddling with the computer. All at once my thoughts were disrupted as music started to play.

Not just any music, but my favorite Christmas music of all time. The familiar notes of N’SYNC fell all around me. Taken by surprise, I turned to face my husband, who hadn’t really been fiddling at all, but purposefully finding the adored album of my adolescent years. The grin he wore equally matched the smile plastered on my face. I had introduced him to the album weeks ago, gushing like a giddy school girl over the ever-popular boy band. At the time, I thought he was only half listening. Turns out, he was tuning in entirely.

Together, with N’SYNC playing in the background, we decorated our first tree. I sang along to “Under My Tree,” “Kiss Me at Midnight,” and “O Holy Night” while my husband laughed at my antics in the background. A new tradition was born that night and we’ve kept it going every year since, a decade now, and it is by far my favorite Christmas tradition to date.

We’ve been blessed to add a little blue-eyed boy to the season festivities since that first Christmas together. Though our son was born long after the boy band era had come and gone, one thing’s for certain. He will know the music of N’SYNC. Well, the Christmas album at least. Thanks to his daddy and the Christmas tradition he started all those years ago.

About this writer

  • Beth Pugh

    Beth Pugh

    Beth Pugh is a wife, mother and daughter striving to live a life of contentment, like baby bear soup. She hopes telling her stories help others to do the same.

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One Response to “N’SYNC Christmas”

  1. Linda O'Connell says:

    Beth, I enjoyed reading your story . Your husband sounds like a wonderful partner, and that little blue eyed boy is in for a treat with that album.

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