Tag Archives: artificial Christmas tree

♫♪ Oh Christmas Tree! Oh Christmas Tree! You’ve Overstayed Your Welcome! ♫♪

When I was growing up, New Year’s Day was special. It was a day we didn’t have to go to school or do anything. My siblings and I would spend all morning watching the Rose Parade on tv. And it was the day we dragged our very dead Christmas tree to the curb, leaving a dense trail of tinsel and pine needles throughout our home and yard.

This year my kids had the day off school, but I still had a laundry list of chores to do. The parade wasn’t held, apparently because New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday. And we didn’t drag our Christmas tree to the curb because it wasn’t actually dead.

It’s now Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the second holiday of the new year, and that damn tree is still perched inside.

This Christmas we broke down and bought an artificial tree. I wrote a blog about it a few weeks ago and mentioned the long term cost savings, the eco-friendly advantage, and how our heavy ornaments would not be dropping to the floor as the branches became more brittle.

There turned out to be even more perks that I hadn’t thought of. There’s a large corner of the living room I haven’t had to sweep because there’s a tree covering the floor. Under the tree is a logical place to store presents that still need to be put away. And we’ve been able to keep our multicolored Christmas tree lights twinkling each night without fear of the 120 degree Fahrenheit bulbs igniting an indoor brush fire.

Without the immediate need to dash for a fire extinguisher, I’ve been putting off de-decorating the house. But like fish and houseguests, the tree has overstayed its welcome.

It’s not just the tree. It’s also the four dozen Christmas decorations scattered throughout the bookshelves and tabletops that need to be boxed up. They’re squeezing out the space of my naked pregnancy pictures (tastefully done – mostly focused on my balance ball-sized belly) and photos of my girls when they had missing teeth. There’s really no good reason for stocking hangers to be sitting idly by more than three weeks after the fat man came down our nonexistent chimney (it apparently toppled down in the Northridge earthquake a decade before we bought our house. I’m jealous every time I smell a fireplace).

We also have a growing collection of Christmas-themed stuffed animals, courtesy of my mother-in-law who seems to think that her only grandson can’t get enough of them. There’s Mickey and Minnie with Santa hats, a plethora of penguins, red ribboned reindeer, snowmen with scarves, and miscellaneous finger puppets which thankfully don’t speak on their own. Last year I stored them all in a kitchen trash bag, but the collection has grown so this year I’m going to need a full-sized outdoor trash bag – the kind that boasts about being 4 ml. thick, which is almost wide enough to measure with a ruler. I think I’m going to have to reverse vacuum the air out so all those winter animals fit.

I’m a little bummed that the tree is still up and I still haven’t bought a pine-scented candle from my friend Paula who sells PartyLites. That was the first thing I had planned to do when we bought the fake tree. The good news is I still have 11 months until next Christmas. I’ll have to ask if there’s also a fireplace-scented candle or if I should just haul our outdoor barbeque into the living room for the month of December.

I need about half a day to pack everything back up into their green and red bins, and since I don’t have any work today, I thought now might be the perfect time.

Or maybe I’ll go see a movie instead.

The next holiday is Valentine’s Day. I can do it then… although I guess that wouldn’t be very romantic. President’s Day? Easter?

If I can just postpone it until July 4th, maybe I can tell people that I’m decorating for Christmas early. After all, isn’t that about the time stores start advertising those artificial Christmas trees?


Filed under Holidays, Humor, Parenting

Murdering a Holiday Tradition

This year's Christmas tree

My husband and I murdered a holiday tradition on Sunday.

We bought an artificial Christmas tree.

Mind you, this wasn’t one of those impulsive decisions you get while strolling down the Costco aisles (I know that just like me, every one of you have some kind of massager you just couldn’t live without). We weighed the cost of one artificial tree compared to a lifetime of tree lot evergreens, as well as the carbon footprint we leave every year by assassinating an innocent living thing for our own two-week enjoyment, and decided to do the eco-friendly thing.

Here’s our typical holiday tradition:

One or two weeks before Christmas, the whole family would wander down to the local Christian church where we are not members (we’re heathens) and check out the freshly-cut trees. The criteria? – not too short, not too dry, not too bald. We always aimed for the $50 tree, but ended up with the $75 one. We contemplated if we should buy the $10 stand/water dish or try to find the one in the garage that makes every tree lopsided. Then some guy who looks like a weekend carny would tie the tree to the top of the minivan. I tipped him $5, the whole time thinking, “I was a Girl Scout. I know how to tie a bowline and a square knot. I can do a lot with the five bucks I just gave away.”

We’d drive the tree home and open the front door, hoping the dogs wouldn’t bolt for the street as my husband carried the tree inside, spraying a trail of pine needles along the way. We’d adjust the stand and pour the evergreen mixture and water into the stand dish, wondering why we always paid extra for the potion even though the tree seemed dehydrated in minutes. We also had to keep the pets from drinking it, which was an impossible task. You’d think that evergreen potion would make dogs less thirsty.

Then my husband or I would string up the colored lights. If it was him, he was done after two strands. If it was me, I wouldn’t stop until I had eight strands up and the tree glowed brighter than kryptonite. Unfortunately, at some point in the next two weeks, at least one strand would burn out, leaving a chunk of the tree in a blackened shadow for the rest of its existence.

The tree would get dryer by the minute. After a few days we would hear random kerplops as a brittle branch gave way and a heavy ornament fell to the ground. Every year we’d lose three to four of the breakable ones. Most of the time I save them in an ever-growing zip lock baggie with every intention of gluing them back together. I never do.

Then on New Year’s Day we’d throw a large bag over the tree and my husband would carry the condom-covered carcass to the street where it might sit for weeks. The sanitation workers only haul it away if we shove it in the green bin, which we are only able to after the tree completely turns to kindling.

And that’s our annual Christmas tree tradition.

No longer.

I looked online at artificial trees to see what kind of cost we were looking at. Target sells them in the range of $80 to $800, which made me want to immediately rethink my plan since there’s no way in hell I’m going to spend twice as much on a tree as we do for our whole Christmas.

We decided to check out Sears, for the simple reason that it happened to be the anchor department store at the mall we were at. They had two trees available – the $200 tree that was on sale for $125, or the $300 that was marked down to the low price of $150. I like a good deal, so you can guess which one I chose. My bet is that Sears never sells that tree for $300. They just say they do to persuade suckers like me to buy it.

We bought the 7.5 Foot Just-cut Blue Noble Fir Pre-lit Tree. It has multi-colored lights that never burn out, and apparently is so easy to put together that even our 5-year old could do it if he had the ability to read the instructions. The tree is called “slim,” which is usually a word I like very much, especially if someone calls me “slim,” but on a Christmas tree it sounds more like an insult. However, we have a smallish living room, and a slim tree would probably be a smart choice.

Mary and Emily were gone when we bought the tree, and Jake seemed to take a greater interest in the box rather than the tree itself. When the girls returned home and saw the tree, Mary was horrified. How could we choose a tree without her? How could we get a fake tree? It didn’t even smell like a tree.

Mary was outnumbered. Emily didn’t want to murder another tree. So instead, we murdered our holiday tradition.

Merry Christmas to y’all and I hope you celebrate wonderful old and new traditions this holiday season.

I can't get a photo of the lights without it looking blurry. Sorry.


Filed under Financial Insecurity, Humor, Husband, Parenting