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Christmas Tree Magic

Welcome back!

The following is an article I wrote several years ago. It was before my husband and I remodeled our house. I need to note that no matter what my space is, I’m always trying to decorate to make our home beautiful and make sure my family feels comfortable. Our house was a lot smaller back when I wrote this, but I managed to make life livable no matter the season. Perhaps you have some creative ideas of your own. Please feel free to share them with me. I hope you enjoy the post.

Christmas Tree Magic

Every Christmas season is the same. Our family tromps through rain-soaked, mud-laden U-Cut forests to find the perfect tree that will light up our home to mark yet another magical holiday. We each have our preference as to what is the perfect tree

Adam, the younger of our sons, has a preference towards the bluish, spikier Blue Spruce. He likes the color and the spiky needles because all you need to do is stand back, throw things at it and what sticks remains as decorations.

Kyle, the older son, used to like the thick fluffy Douglas Fir—but now that he’s in his teen—and rarely communicates since he turned thirteen—seems to refrain from comment as he shuffles ten steps behind the rest of us. However, this year after two hours of soggy socks and wet branches in his face, his final comment was, “I don’t care, just cut one!”

My husband on the other hand is stuck on big and bushy. No matter the type, it needs to be like the Clark Griswold tree on Christmas Vacation. His choice is a tree that usually replaces the living room and everything in it.

After years of sitting on one corner of the couch peering through branches, bopping Christmas balls side-to-side watching television, is precisely why I like the thinner, skinnier, sparser Noble Fir, one clipped and sized to fit our living room. The rest of the family would probably say the Charlie Brown tree is my preference.

One thing we’ve managed to agree on for many years is that the tree needs to be a live one. We’ve never wanted one that needs to be pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle. As my husband so eloquently put into words, “The magic comes from the family hunt for that special tree. Not to test the engineering skills of the dexterous challenged, to resurrect something that was never alive!” Therefore the above has been the family tradition.

This year, trying to make living-room life livable for the last month of the year, I decided to introduce a new idea. I proposed to my husband that he could have his Clark Griswold tree as long as he could carry it and that it would be placed on our glassed-in deck. I lobbied that it would brighten up the neighborhood for others to enjoy as well. Then I added, “You won’t have to put up as many decorations outside.” After several hours of his huffs and snorts on changing tradition and how it’s just not Christmas without a tree in the living room, he finally conceded—mumbling something about how he’d better get to have his tinsel on it this year.

Once the thick fluffy Clark Griswold Douglas Fir was up. and looking as stunning as our imaginations could conjure, I realized that the living room was left lifeless and bland and in need of holiday cheer.

While shopping the next day, I saw one of those funky little fake trees that are mainly used in department stores to advertise Christmas decorations. They come in different heights, boughs usually spaced wide and branches short and sparse. The darn things are so ugly they’re cute. I focused on one that stood five foot and it reminded me of the toy trees stuck in Styrofoam strewn around the grounds of my father’s old railroad set. But hey, it looked like a tree, could hold lights, a few ornaments, and was well balanced in its thinness. I knew just where to put it—after all, my husband was the one who thought we should have a tree in the living-room. And what the heck, it was on sale, 50% off.

On the way home, feeling only a little guilty for goading my husband into breaking tradition, and having the audacity to bring home a fake tree, I thought of all the guff I may get from the family when they saw what I had broken tradition for. I reasoned to myself, emphasizing to my husband, that I at least hunted for this bargain. But every time I looked over at this poor excuse for a tree, I began to laugh. Why not have some fun with this, I thought. I’ll throw some lights and Christmas balls on it and maybe fill in the boughs with ribbons. Soon I was in a full belly laugh—laughing only to the silent Christmas tree spirits. I made bets with myself on who would say what about my new tradition.

My husband went to pick up the kids and do some Christmas shopping. I had the evening to myself. I had no more than set the tree in the corner when Finnegan, our kitten experiencing his first Christmas, decided it made a great scratching post. (He had yet to use the expensive scratching post purchased just for him.)

The tree was not very heavy so it kept tipping over or leaning to one side or the other as I twined white twinkle lights around its scarce limbs, all the while shooing the cat as he jumped, and batted the string of lights snaking around behind me. My giggles continued as I placed ornaments and ribbon on this stump with green crepe paper portraying pine needles.

I stood back to look at my work. All that was missing was the tree skirt. Searching the house for what to use, I decided my large lace doily, would work. With that complete, I placed small presents under it. In the meantime, I returned to find Finnegan sitting in the tree playing ping-pong with the balls! He scampered thinking it was time for hide-and-seek and toppled the tree once more.  Picking up ornaments and straightening lights, the ribbons, the doily, and presents, it was finally intact—for only a moment. Finnegan darted with wires in his mouth spilling the tree once more. With Finnegan, outside and the tree back in place, I turned on the lights and . . .

It happened! That Christmas Tree Magic moment! It was the most beautiful little tree I’d ever seen. It was nothing to laugh at. I sat mesmerized for the rest of the evening enjoying my Christmas Tree.

In the glow of my new Christmas tree, contemplating the spirit of Christmas and the wonder of the universe, suddenly the door flew open. Kyle stopped dead in his tracks, staring and mouth gaping. I thought he was experiencing the same spiritual moment, when he hollers, “Dad, it’s another Charlie Brown tree.”

My husband brought in some packages and said, “Move out of the way Kyle.”

Adam followed his father in asking, “What’s that?”

Kyle said, “It’s a tree, duh.”

“No, it’s not. It’s a stick with branches stapled to it, duh,” replied Adam.

But then it hits them all! Kyle said, “Yeah, but it’s pretty awesome.”

Adam said, “Yeah, it’s cool!”

My husband gave me a big smile and wink, saying, “Are you sure those cords are safe?”

And, there we stood, the four of us. Ahem, five, as Finnegan purred at my feet. All eyes sparkling bright and beautiful smiles all around.

Ah, the spirit of Christmas tree magic!


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