Christmas Tree: A 3-Day Event

I’m guessing it’s going to take me the better part of three days to get my Christmas tree up and I think that’s just one of the more ridiculous things about this holiday and its tendency to go over the top. Christmas has become a complete drama queen.

Yes, I have a fake tree and no, it’s not because I’m a big tree hugger wanting to save trees from being cut down so that I can put artificial tinsel and unnatural materials on them for my holiday pleasure. I’ve had a fake tree since before it was politically correct. We used to have a real tree, but my husband’s and son’s allergies got so bad, we were putting it further and further away from the areas of our house where people went, until one year I started to move the vacuum cleaner so we could set up our tree in the front guest closet, and we had to give it up and go fake.

Because it’s made out of polyester, I can put up the Christmas tree whenever I feel like it. It doesn’t have to be a Hallmarky snowy day with me wearing a scarf and gloves with no holes, and my husband wearing a pea coat and knit cap, the children scampering amongst the trees, picking out their favorite and taking it home and making cocoa while the sap drips onto our hardwood living room floor.

No, I can start sticking the lower branches in the holes while the kids are watching Lockup: Raw and we can all throw an ornament on as we walk by on our way to the refrigerator.

When my kids were younger, putting up the tree was a Fun Holiday Event. We actually did make cocoa and play my Boys 2 Men Christmas album. Sometimes I would play the Charlie Brown’s Christmas soundtrack songs on the piano. My husband does not participate in holiday decorating of any kind, but he would take pictures of us decorating the tree. One year he videotaped me doing the Lollipop Guild song and put it on YouTube. And we all laughed and laughed and laughed. It was a veritable Captain and Tennille Christmas special.

This year, however, I’m on a tight schedule, due to a Thanksgiving out-of-town vacation (to Key West, which I wrote about last Friday and which I will write about again soon, as soon as I get my tree up - I have lots to tell), a quick overnight trip to Tallahassee I have to make mid-week, and a big party I’m hosting on Saturday. I normally wouldn’t be so anal about getting my tree up, my house decorated, and my front and back lights up and running so soon after Thanksgiving, but the party we’re having is a Holiday Party, so I feel an obligation to have something holidayish, and I don’t think putting a box of tinsel in a red Fiestaware bowl is going to cut it.

Tonight, I started in on Step One: Building the Tree. I got the tree branch coffin untaped and separated the color-coded branches and then realized that I didn’t have the base. It was still in storage. How we missed that thing is beyond me. It’s a big as a pontoon boat. My husband drove to the storage place before it closed to get it. I will never complain again about how he never helps with Christmas decorations.

With my mother-in-law’s help, I got the tree put together in about an hour and a half, and then we started to unwrap the ornaments. Last January, I must’ve been on crystal meth. I had wrapped each ornament individually in big sheets of newspaper. I even wrapped some of the ornaments made of fabric. I know I was really excited about the new pots and pans I got, but, really, is it not time for me to get a job? How much do you have to earn to hire someone to put away your Christmas ornaments?

Obviously, our ornaments are procreating in the big green bin during the summer months. Every year we have more and more ornaments, despite the fact that I break at least twice the number of ornaments that we get new each year. And I think they must be eating the hooks, because they’re almost all gone.

We now have Christmas ornaments hanging all over the furniture. It’ll take me another day to put on the lights and at least another day and a half to hang all these ornaments. [Here’s a blog I wrote two years ago about our ornament family. It’s a dysfunctional crew, but we love them like a bunch of weird cousins.]

Wish me luck with the tree. Come party time on Saturday, if it's not decorated yet, I'm slapping a menorah in the front window and switching teams.

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