Yup. It’s that time, too.
First, the Christmas lights outside. Then the Christmas tree inside. Fake or real, they’re beautiful when they’re finished, aren’t they? But what about the work it takes to get to that point? Uh-huh. I know. Me too. But it’s worth it, isn’t it…
We grew up with an artificial tree (probably a six-footer) with big round colored lights that had “ice crystals” on them (remember those from the 70’s?). Had that set-up for years. Then eventually my parents decided to go the “real tree” route. Talk about a learning curve. Between the tree sucking up all of the tree juice (if you’ve had a real tree before, you know the stuff I’m talking about) and finding dried up pine needles in the carpeting 6 months later (and by “finding” I mean that a pine needle is embedded in your foot because you stepped on it), it was downright hard at times to keep it looking lush and green and alive until Christmas.
If you aren’t familiar with the “real tree” experience, part of that project is cutting a couple of inches off of the trunk of the tree before you put the tree in the treestand. That cut needs to be even–for a reason. One of the first “real tree” seasons for us found us wrapping up our decorating of the tree one night. We’re all standing around the tree, admiring our work. As we’re looking at it, the tree appears to be leaning to the right. And leaning more. And it’s not stopping. That’s right, it’s not leaning–it’s falling. We all saw it at the same time and leaped for the tree trunk to grab it before it totally fell over. We caught it just in time and only had a few glass bulbs fall off. Once we righted the tree, we found that it wouldn’t stay–probably due to an uneven cut at the base of it–and so, our MacGyver solution was to pound a nail into the trim around the windows on each side of the tree and tie a piece of sewing string from one nail, wrap it around the trunk a few times and tie it off on the other nail. Believe it or not, it worked for the whole season!
So let’s fast-forward to my first Christmas season on my own in my own house. I had recently moved into this house and was looking forward to my first Christmas tree being a real tree! And not just any real tree–I wanted a white pine (remember my story about white pines?). So I drove out to a “real tree” farm where you cut the tree down yourself. I saw a group of three or four trees together and saw the smallest one. All the while trying to picture the small sitting room in my house that the tree was going to go in. That “small” tree that I saw next to the other ones was looking just perfect!
So I cut it down and brought it home. I couldn’t wait to get it in the sitting room and get it all decorated! I got the room all cleaned out and ready for the tree….I got the trunk cut off nice and even….I got the door open and ready for the tree….and found that I could hardly get the tree into the house. By the time I got the tree into the sitting room and had it set up in the treestand, it came close to filling up half of the room. But nonetheless, it was beautiful when I was done! It sure made my Dad laugh, though. It dwarfed the room and made for a very memorable Christmas season…..