Saturday, November 30, 2013

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree, the most treasured of family memories during the holiday season, has a checkered history at our home.

When we first got married, I can remember going with my DH to pick out our first Christmas Tree. How I can wax nostalgic about that afternoon. Coming back to decorate our first tree, enjoying adult beverages and holiday music as we strung the lights.  That was the year I learned how damn expensive it was to decorate a tree. They looked so elegant in Southern Accents. Thank God for the Family Dollar store. But, I digress.

Then there were those years when the girls were young, the magical years of Santa Claus. Every year, it was a family trip to the Christmas Tree farm to select and cut down the perfect tree. Of course these were also the years, when us women went against the man of the house in the war of the lights. My DH insisted on colored lights and we wanted white ones. We came to a truce. We would alternate - white one year, colored lights the next. That first year we used white lights. He never had a choice after that, they have been white ever since.

After the girls went to college, my DH and I would go get the tree in anticipation of them being home for the holidays. Sometimes, one would be home in time to help decorate. Now, they are out of the house and it is just us - true empty nesters. This year, instead of making the trek to the Christmas Tree Farm, I suggested we just pick up one up from the Piggly Wiggly. My DH looked at me like I had walked out of Zombie movie. Guess not, I thought.

Now another issue we have is my DH's lack of spacial consciousness. Years ago, we lived in this wonderful old house that had ten foot ceilings. It was a dream house for Christmas trees. Ever since then, when we go to buy a tree, he still looks at the nine foot trees. I remind him we have eight foot ceilings. So he will then "consider" an eight foot tree. 

It gets ugly when I remind him that an eight foot tree doesn't really fit in a room with eight foot ceilings, once you get the tree in a stand, especially if you want to put anything on the top. (Say that large angel he insists we place atop the tree each year.) His response is that a seven foot tree will look short in our den. And, he thinks I have denial issues about living in a brick ranch house?

But, who am I to understand that the eight foot measure they use for the trees is the same eight foot measure they used for our ceilings? Every year, we come home with an eight foot tree, that has to have a good ten or eleven inches taken off the top, before it can stand up in the room. Then we have a beautiful tree with a flat top. Of course the angel will not sit on a flat top, so we end up spending an inordinate amount of time "shaping" the top of the tree. When it is all said and done, we have a seven foot tall tree, a mess on the floor, and an angel whose halo almost touches the ceiling. Stepping back, my DH always comments, "See I told you, an eight foot tree does well in our house."

One year he saw the Christmas Tree farm had a special order of "Noble Firs" from out west. They were the "Cat's Pajama's" as my dear Aunt Kat would say. He just had to have one. When we first saw it, he was thrilled. Personally, I just thought it looked like a very nice Christmas tree. It certainly didn't merit the price which was double anything we had paid in the past, as far as I was concerned. But, a Noble Fir was the choice for that year.

That same year our daughter called from Texas. She was excited telling her father all about the tree she and her beau had purchased and what a deal they had gotten. "We got this beautiful tree from Lowes. And, we only paid $15," she said. My DH then went on about his prized Noble Fir. "Oh, Daddy," she said,"that's just what we bought, a Noble Fir. Aren't they gorgeous. How much did you pay? My DH just said,"A little more than that," and quickly changed the subject to their travel plans for the holiday.

When he got off the phone, I looked at my DH, "No, it was a Hell of a lot more." That was our last Noble Fir. This year, we ventured from our 30 year run of Leland Cypresses (less the one year with grand Noble Fir) and have a Blue Sapphire (tree). And, yes, it is a shade of blueish green and quite lovely. The jury is still out though, it hasn't yet been brought in and retrofitted for our den. 

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