Guest Post by Jeneal Rogers: The Perfect Tree

To start your December right this year, I have a special treat for you—a guest post by artist and writer Jeneal Rogers. You may remember that I featured her art and photography this summer in one of my Summer Photo Fun posts, and now it’s my pleasure to share some of her writing with you.

As we head into the holiday season, may Jeneal’s piece set the tone for a perfect holiday season for us all. Enjoy!

The Perfect Tree

by Jeneal Rogers

Thunk! “What was that?” The look of confusion on my husband’s face turned to alarm, as it dawned on him what had made the noise.“The tree!” He gunned the car out of the wash and pulled over to check the load fastened to the top.

The whole thing had been John’s idea. A few days before we left for my mother’s house, he confessed to me that it seemed wasteful to him to buy a live tree each year only to throw it out with the trash before Christmas even arrived. I took pity on my frugal husband, but I wouldn’t accept just any old pile of plastic. If we were going artificial, the tree must be perfect. We developed a plan.

The day after our arrival at my mother’s house, we went into action. We elbowed our way through the crowd of last minute Wal-Mart shoppers to the display. Part A of Mission Christmas Tree was under way. I carefully scrutinized all they had to offer. Finally, I saw it. Just the right height for my living room, it was a natural pine color with branches lush enough to hide it’s metal trunk. “This is, by far, the nicest one of the whole bunch,” I pointed out to John. “This is the one.”

John had been doing his own research. “This is, by far, the highest priced one of the whole bunch,” he said.

I smiled at the tree adoringly. “Perfect,” I whispered.

Defeated, he duly noted my selection and we left the store.

On December 26, John put Part B of the plan into motion. He made many trips to the store, patiently stalking his prey until the price dropped to over 50% off. Then he pounced! He returned from the hunt with his prize strapped to the top of the car.

A few days later we loaded up the kids and our Christmas loot and headed for home stopping, as was John’s custom, to wash the car at the first opportunity.

That’s when we heard the “thunk.” Oh no! Not my perfect tree!

After looking it over John assured me only the box had been damaged.

But the next year, when I started to put the tree up, I saw some of the branches had been bent, permanently reshaped by the washing. I held them for a moment, pondering the situation. A giggle escaped as I remembered the look on John’s face when he realized what he had done. Other Christmas memories quickly followed. The bent branches hadn’t decreased the tree’s worth. Rather, they made it more valuable. They made it uniquely ours.

Every year, I pull the branches from their patched up box and smile adoringly. “Perfect,” I whisper, as Christmas memories infuse all my senses.

I see my children’s eyes shining brighter than the lights adorning houses and shrubbery as we take our annual drive. I hear their little off-key voices mix with mine as we belt out every Christmas carol we know. I taste the sticky sweetness of the sugar cookies we bake together every year, frosting piled on thick with sprinkles, not sprinkled but shoveled on by little hands. I smell the distinct Christmas fragrance of fudge, pine, popcorn, and peppermint. And I feel children snuggling up next to me, their warm, pajama-clad bodies still damp from their bath, ready for our Christmas Eve tradition. I read the same stories to them my mother read to me when I was a child, “A Visit From St. Nick,” and “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.”All of these memories and many more wash over me every year, as soon as I lay my hands upon those special reshaped branches.

__ __

John is gone now. The children are grown, living their own lives. They have not yet provided me with grandchildren.

But I’m confident I’ll be a grandmother someday. The grandchildren will come to my house for Christmas. We’ll make sugar cookies and they’ll put as many sprinkles on them as they want. And we’ll eat the cookies together under my perfect Christmas tree, not worrying about the crumbs.

I’ll read to them about a special visit from Santa and about the grumpy old Grinch. We’ll laugh as I tell them about the year their grandfather washed the Christmas tree. And then I’ll tell them about the Savior whose birth we celebrate. I’ll tell them how He came to wash us clean from our sins. And about how He looks at us, permanently reshaped by the washing, and smiles adoringly.

Perfect,” He whispers.

*The artwork above is also by Jeneal. To see more of her work, be sure to visit her website – .

*What’s one of your favorite Christmas memories?


  1. Beautiful story and beautiful art. Thank you, Jeneal!

  2. I have so many favorite Christmas stories. I was laughing so hard at your story, and I love the way you related it to God’s washing our sins away. That is a perfect way to share the gospel!

  3. A beautiful post, Jeneal. I pray you have many more memory-making years with your family! You’ve kept the Christmas story alive with your re-telling here.


  4. Thanks, ladies, for your wonderful comments for Jeneal. I think she’s away from her computer right now so will probably be responding later. So glad you enjoyed her story!

  5. Hi Cheryl,

    Fun to stop by here again. I was offline for a few weeks and missed it.

    Christmas is a special time for me of family, lights, scents, and stories of truth and hope.

    Jennifer Dougan

  6. Glad to see you back, Jennifer! Hope your time offline was refreshing. Have a wonderful holiday season!

  7. Beautiful story and love the art work. Jeneal is very talented. :)

  8. I agree, Debbie!

  9. I love this story!

  10. Kristin, I thought you would enjoy it! :)

  11. Thank you all. I had computer problems, plus traveling, and have just now been able to read your kind comments.

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