Disclaimer: The characters are the property of the amazingly talented J.K Rowling! I'm only borrowing the characters and world that she has so brilliantly created.
"Oh, Christmas Tree" – a Christmas oneshot
A/N: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! Enjoy!
"I think it's still leaning to the left."
James groaned in irritation and adjusted the trunk of the fir tree for what felt that the millionth time. As Lily stood holding onto the middle of the tree, he adjusted the metal pegs which held the trunk upright in the tree stand.
"That had better be the last time," he muttered, pushing himself off of the floor and into a standing position. "Who knew putting up a bleeding Christmas tree would be so much work?"
"Don't be a spoilsport, it's all part of the Muggle Christmas experience," Lily informed him, brilliant green eyes proudly surveying the tree that now stood in the corner of their sitting room.
The plan to decorate in the Muggle way had essentially been his idea. It was his and Lily's first Christmas as a married couple, and he had wanted it to be particularly special. To this end, he had decided that it would be fun if both he and Lily each combined some of their family traditions to make their very own traditions.
He and Lily had done their Christmas shopping in Diagon Alley and put up a wreath on the front door as he and his parents had always done. Then Lily had announced that she and her family always went to a place called a tree farm, cut down their own Christmas tree, and put it up in the sitting room.
Though James had never heard of a Christmas tree farm, it seemed like a fun tradition. That morning, Lily had woken him with a lovely breakfast of toast, eggs, and tea, before packing him into the car. Car travel always made James a bit queasy, but he had endured it for his wife's sake. Usually they found it easier to Apparate, but the car did have its uses.
Once at the Christmas tree farm, he and Lily wandered up and down the rows of trees mitten covered hands clasped as they debated the merits of each particular fir tree. Some trees were too tall, some were too short, some weren't green enough, and some were missing too many needles. That had been his favorite part of the morning, strolling hand in hand with Lily and laughing together. Pulling her behind a tree in order to kiss her came a very close second.
Once they had selected a tree however, things became slightly more difficult. Because they were doing it in the tradition of Lily's family and because he couldn't very well take out his wand in front of the Muggle families around them, James had been forced to cut the tree down the Muggle way with a slightly dull saw provided by the owner of the tree farm. This had proved quite the task and had caused Lily much hysterical laughter. Several none-too-flattering photographs of him now chronicled the event.
Tying the tree to the roof of the car had been another frustrating scene, and James had been worried the entire way back to Godric's Hollow that they would arrive home only to find that the tree had fallen off the roof and was lying abandoned somewhere alongside the motorway. Thankfully, the tree had survived the journey, which brought them to their current situation of attempting to set the tree straightly in the tree stand.
"Now it's time for the lights!" Lily announced happily, throwing open the lid of a box and lifting a coil of small tree lights out.
While Lily circled the tree, setting the strings of lights on branches and making sure that the distribution of lights was even, James was regulated to holding onto the end of the strand and making sure it didn't work itself into a knot. Lily began humming Christmas carols as they worked.
"Remember how Peeves used to make up his own lyrics to Christmas songs and sing them from inside suits of armor?" James smiled, fondly recalling their time at Hogwarts.
"Yes," Lily agreed with a good-natured roll of her eyes. "How could I forget such lovely carols?"
"Now bring us a stinky pudding, now bring us a stinky pudding, now throw some right here!" James laughed as he sang the silly altered lyrics that Peeves had devised.
He shook his head in rueful disdain. "Rotten lyrics, if you ask me. Now, God Rest Ye, Merry Hippogriffs, on the other hand, is an brilliant song."
"That's a rubbish song and you know it," Lily laughed, putting the finishing touches on the lights. She plugged the chord into the electrical outlet, and the tiny lights all began to glow brightly.
"Oy! I'll have you know that my mates and I came up with that song! The lyrics happen to be incredibly clever. The tree looks nice, by the way," he added.
Lily had certainly done a nice job with the lights. There were no large gaps and the lights were woven under and around the branches so that they looked as though they were naturally a part of the tree itself.
Standing on her tiptoes, Lily pressed a kiss to his cheek. "Why thank you."
James turned his head and captured Lily's lips with his own, the sweetness of her kiss achingly familiar - soft and warm and passionate. He snaked his arms around her waist and pulled her body close to his own. Her hands slid slowly, tantalizingly up his back and James heard himself groan, his body responding to Lily's touch. Just as he had started to deepen the kiss, Lily suddenly pulled away.
"We'll never get this tree decorated if you keep distracting me," she told him, moving away. She was trying to sound as though she was cross with him, but really, she wasn't fooling him. Her darkened eyes and breathlessness told him they'd be continuing this later.
"You started it," James countered, his mind still coming to terms with the fact that he was no longer madly snoging his wife. He didn't want to sound as though he was sulking, except that, well, he was. Life could be so unfair.
"Sulking doesn't suit you, love," Lily said nonchalantly as she opened a cardboard box labeled 'ornaments.'
She held up a white popsicle stick that had a bit of black fabric at the top with dots beneath. "Look!" she eagerly, holding the popsicle stick out for his inspection.
"Er…" James took the item in hand and stared at it for a moment. Did Lily honestly expect him to know what this was? He opted for a nice, safe "hmm" and eyebrow raise.
"It's a snowman," Lily explained, reading him like a book. She always had been excellent at catching him the middle of a bluff. "Petunia and I made them when we were still in primary school. The last time I went home to visit mum and dad, mum gave me all of my old ornaments so we could have them for our tree."
Our tree. His and Lily's. Their very first Christmas tree.
That Lily had agreed to marry him was something that James still found miraculous. She was wonderful – funny, warm, kind, clever – and he was often a right prat. Yet somehow she still loved him. It was utterly amazing.
"Why are so you smiling like that?"
James looked up to find Lily regarding him with an expression that mixed curiosity with tenderness and realized that he was been staring at the carpet, grinning widely.
"Just enjoying your funky ornaments," he told her, still smiling so widely his cheeks were beginning to protest. He could tell that she didn't believe him, but she didn't press him on the matter.
Reaching into the box, James pulled out an item that's identity escaped him. "What is this?"
Lily laughed, and took the gold colored triangle from his hands, turning it over fondly. "It's a Christmas tree, see? It's in the shape of a tree, with macaroni noodles glued to it, then spray painted gold."
Well, James thought as Lily hung the gaudy macaroni noodle ornament on a branch right at the front, at least their tree was… interesting.
Suddenly, Lily whirled around. "I almost forgot!" she exclaimed, as she ran excitedly out of the room.
In her absence, James peeked into the box to look at the remaining ornaments. There was a few small penguins, several colored baubles of assorted reds, greens, silvers, golds, and blues, a mouse on skis, a round snowman wearing a scarf, another macaroni noodle tree, a few glass bells, and several strings of red and gold beads.
James momentarily wondered if Lily would notice if he hid the second macaroni noodle ornament. Maybe he could stash it under the sofa until she went out to the shops, then properly dispose of it in the rubbish bin. He had just decided that this plan was sure to backfire on him and that Lily would be understandably cross if he did such a thing when Lily waltzed back into the sitting room.
"Happy Christmas," she told him, thrusting a small but smartly wrapped package into his hands. Her face was flushed a pretty pink and her eyes were sparkling with anticipation.
"But it's not Christmas yet."
"My parents have a tradition that every year they buy each other an ornament for the tree. I thought that it would be a nice tradition to carry on," Lily explained excitedly. "I bought one for both of us this year, seeing as how you didn't know. You could open it now – that way we'll get to enjoy it before Christmas."
He didn't need telling twice. Tearing off the red paper and gold ribbon, James tossed the wrappings to the floor in his eagerness to see what the small box contained. Lifting the lid, he peered into the shallow box and saw two ornaments nestled inside on a bed of soft white tissue paper.
"Lily…" he breathed, a grin spreading across his face. She knew him so well, knew exactly what to get him.
"Do you like them?" she asked, biting her lip in the shy way that she knew drove him crazy.
James couldn't even think of what words to use to express to her how much he loved the gift, so he just said, "They're perfect, Lily."
One of the small ornaments was a stag that looked very much like his patronus. The other was a doe, just like her patronus, which was itself a symbol of her deep love for him. Judging by the happy glow on her face, she could tell how much he appreciated the meaning behind the ornaments. Leaning forward, he kissed her soundly.
They hung the deer close together on a branch in the center of the tree in a highly visible place, and then proceeded to hang the remaining ornaments on the tree. They laughed over the mouse on skis and mutually decided that one macaroni noodle tree was quite enough and chucked the spare in the bin. James was quite relieved.
When they were finished, they turned off the lights in the sitting room so that they could properly enjoy the lights on their Christmas tree. The two curled up on the sofa together, him leaning back against the cushions and Lily's head resting on his chest. His warm hand was making lazy circles on her back and she was running her fingertips over his chest through his shirt.
"It's a lovely tree, James," Lily said, her face turned towards the tree, examining their work. "I had a wonderful time today."
James hummed in agreement, moving one of his hands to tangle in her fiery red hair. "I did too. Just think, next year and all of the years after, we'll have our own traditions to follow. And one day we'll be hanging up the hideous ornaments our children will make - more macaroni noodle ornaments to look forward to!"
Lily beamed up at him, emerald eyes shining. "You're absolutely wonderful, you know that? I love you so much."
"I love you too," he told her, pressing his lips to her hair. Her soft hair smelled like flowers and pleasantly tickled his face. "There is no one I would rather make Christmas traditions with than you."
The two were quiet for a moment, merely enjoying being tangled up with each other and enjoying the atmosphere provided by their tree, but then Lily shifted her head to look up at him with a slightly guilty expression.
James raised an eyebrow, wondering for what favor she was going to ask. He knew that look on her face all to well.
Lily swallowed, then said with a small smile, "Don't hate me James, but I think the tree is still leaning to the left."
Thanks for reading! I hope everyone has a joyous holiday season.