Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

A week ago I blogged about how much I dreaded Christmas last year. This year it’s much different. I’ve been ready to get going with Christmas since Thanksgiving, but I’d told myself I couldn’t do anything Christmas related until I finished my 50000 words for NaNoWriMo.

I finished Monday night. Well before midnight even. I didn’t have quite the sense of elation I had two years ago when I finished my first book, but it was close. Plus I knew that now I could save the still-needs-to-be-finished WIP on the external hard drive, pack away all the notes, store away my magical, mystical mojo beads, blow out my salt candle and get started with my Christmas decorating.

A tree is an important part of Christmas for me. I remember as a small child going with my daddy and sister out to woods somewhere and cutting a cedar tree. It would make the house smell so fresh. When my boys were young, we’d make an annual trek to the Christmas tree farm and chop our own. We learned the hard way to not only take exterior looks into consideration, but to make sure the trunk was straight. We had one Christmas where the tree was tied to a closet door knob to hold it upright.

Then the boys got older, headed off to college and I entered the artificial tree era. They have really nice ones now – lush and looking darned near real. Burn an evergreen candle and you’d think it WAS real. Now they even come with lights already on them. Now how cool is that?

Last year my Christmas tree was a little on the “Charlie Brown” side. It was only four feet tall and I’d bought it from a thrift store. One branch had broken where it attached to the trunk, so I had to wire it in place with floral wire. But I put that side against the wall and no one was the wiser. I decorated it with a few things I’d brought from my house plus some new dollar store decorations. It served its purpose but I knew I wanted a full size tree for this year. I even budgeted for one and figured I’d start looking early and hope for a good sale.

At Labor Day a group of girlfriends and I went to the beach to visit another friend, and when she was showing us around her apartment, she pointed to a large box in the hall closet and said, “I really need to take that to the thrift store.”

“What is it?” I asked, being nosy.

“It’s a Christmas tree.”

“Oh? How tall?”

It turns out it was a 7 ½ foot slim pre-lit tree which was EXACTLY what I’d planned to buy.

Someone had given it to her the year before and she’d decided to downsize. I offered to buy the tree from her, but she said she was planning to give it away anyway, so I could have it for nothing. We had one problem though: our car was full, so how would I get it to Huntsville?

“Easy,” she said. “I’m coming up in a few weeks and I’ll bring it then.”

Christmas tree situation solved!

This episode is now fondly referred to as the Sisterhood of the Traveling Christmas Tree.

I’m planning to pull out my boxes of decorations plus a collection of new ornaments I got earlier this year thanks to several dear friends who gave me a generous gift card to a Christmas shop right when they had everything at clearance prices.

When I get the tree up and decorated and have the rest of my place done, I’ll post pictures. Maybe I can even find some photos of the Charlie Brown tree for a before and after comparison.

So, are you a real or artificial tree person? And when do you put your tree up? I remember another real tree episode where the tree died. And I mean DIED. When you’d shut a door or even walk across the hardwood floor, you could hear needles fall. Two weeks before Christmas, every brown, dry needle was on the floor. So we undecorated it, took it to the dumpster and bought another tree. ~sigh~


Angel said...

Woohoo on finishing Nano! I barely got started. :)

We're finally doing an artificial tree this year, much to Drama Queen's dismay. But my husband's grandmother decided to scale back, so she went and bought a slimline tree and is giving us her bigger one. Its really nice, but way too heavy and big for her to manage anymore.

I'll miss buying a real tree, but we'll survive. :)


Problem Child said...

We are real tree people. DG thinks artificial trees are an abomination.

Normally, my tree goes up mid-December and stays up until Epiphany, but this year it went up early since we're doing some holiday entertaining early in the month. That thing's going to be a dead mess by Epiphany...

Smarty Pants said...

I always had an artificial tree when I was a kid. Wasn't until I was 12 or so that we got our first live one. It was such a pain, we went straight back to artificial. When DB moved in, things changed. He was BIG on live trees. I get the appeal, but trying to keep it alive and cleaning up after it is impossible. In addition to that, I couldn't put up the tree as early as I wanted without it dying a week before Christmas. Last year, I finally convinced him to let me buy an artificial pre-lit tree. Its huge, gorgeously full, very real looking and it was mismarked somehow, so I managed to get a $400 tree for $120. :)

I need to get it up. This year looks like even with an artificial tree, it will go up around the 15th ...

Sherry Werth said...

Congratulations on finishing Nano!!

We're on our third year with an artificial tree. I've always had live ones but a few years back we couldn't find a free weekend to get to the Christmas tree farm so we ended up with an artificial one. I miss my live tree but the one we bought looks nice and I can put it up the day after Thanksgiving and it won't end up dead before Christmas!
Happy decorating PM!

Katherine Bone said...

Way to go, Marilyn! Finishing NaNo and achieving your word count goal is a phenomenal feat! I'm proud of you. :D

We've always had an artificial tree. Traveling a lot preempted us from getting a fresh one when I was growing up. I'm almost positive we had the same artificial tree until I left home. LOL! It held up well.

The DH and I have had the same tree since he proposed to me under it 29 years ago this Christmas Eve. Of course, it has sentimental value. ;)

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Great story, PM, and many congrats on finishing NaNo!

My mom is a real tree fanatic, but I have to say I just didn't inherit that from her. I don't like the mess and hassle and the fear of it dying. I love the smell though. But I also love my artificial pre-lit tree that stores in a nice bag in the attic.

I am thinking about getting one of those small potted trees though, so I have the real smell and I don't have to worry about it dying.

catslady said...


Real tree only lol. It's a lot more work and more expensive but it just doesn't feel like Christmas without it. I remember when my parents switched to a fake tree - hated it. I have cats obviously and I make sure to get the stiff pine needles and they really do pretty much leave it alone. Picking out the tree is part of the fun(or agony when it's cold lol) and then I give a tree trimming party and everyone joins in. Oh, and I had one of those trees that lost all it's needles one year - horrible. I'm more careful and make sure I never miss a watering now lol.

Anonymous said...

Artificial all the way! I absolutely hate the maintenance that comes with a real tree. As a rule, the tree isn't allowed to go up before the day after Thanksgiving, and we leave it up until New Years...hence the need for artificial. I downsized this year and everyone hates the smaller tree. Hubby has already said we are getting a larger tree for next year!

Sheryl M

Stephanie Jones said...

PM, Congratulations on finishing NaNo! Way to go!!

I am a live tree all the way gal.
In fact, if I can't have a real live tree I prefer to just not have one. That's exactly what I have done the last few years. I put up some metal ornament trees so that I can see my favorite ornaments, some garland with twinkly lights to get that Christmas tree lights effect, and have several arrangments of fresh greenery to get the evergreen smell I love so much. (Lynn, I recommend this to get that yummy smell in your house.)

Marilyn, I am so glad for you that this year's Christmas has such a positive feeling for you!

Angel said...

Lynn, Our local Christmas tree place sells evergreen wreaths and mantle sprays at really reasonable prices. They smell the same and no watering required. The wreath I bought last year lasted several weeks.

I'm going to miss the real tree this year, but not the $60 I usually have to pay for one. :)