Tuesday, December 16, 2014

We Do Christmas Trees

At the risk of bragging, our family has mastered one aspect of Christmas decorating. We have the whole Christmas tree thing down.

But only through trial and error.

2007 - We had a 13-month-old.

When we moved to New England with two little kids, I insisted we go to a tree farm and choose our tree while it was still in the ground. This is what New Englanders do. It would create a lifetime of happy family memories.

Except that it was always freezing cold. And we were all miserable.

And my husband and I have no more ability than our small children to determine whether a tree is the correct size for the room. So ceiling scratches became part of the tradition.

Surprisingly, we knew this was too big.

Then there was the year it was so wide that we had to cut all the branches off the tree before we could get it out of the house.

2009 - It was so pretty.

Until we had to get it out of the house.

Of course the tree fell down. More than once. (Fortunately, it seemed precarious from the start, so I'd hung all the fragile and meaningful ornaments on a tabletop ornament tree.)

In a feat of strength and coordination that still amazes me, I single-handedly picked up the tree and balanced it while tying fishing line around it and to eye bolts I'd inserted into the window and door trim.

The tree process was not good for marital harmony. Always good for the holidays.

Somehow, the bickering and the cold and the falling tree all seemed par for the course. It was the spiders that changed my mind.

My son was four or five the year he asked what all the little black dots on the living room ceiling were. I told him there weren't any dots. Since he didn't yet need corrective eyewear, his vision was better than mine. There were black dots. Lots of black dots. And when you stood on the furniture to see what the black dots were, it became apparent that they were spiders. Lots and lots of baby spiders that thought the warmth of our living room indicated the arrival of spring and had hatched from the egg sac concealed somewhere on that gargantuan tree we had frozen our butts off selecting at the tree farm.

We don't go to the tree farm anymore. Our family tradition is that we go to the garden shop near the grocery store, about five minutes away. We go to that shop--and only that shop--because they offer in-town free delivery.

2012 - Finally figured it out.

Every year, I (again) measure the height of the living room ceiling (8.5') before we leave the house. I tell the tree guy our ceiling height, he offers 1-3 selections, and we choose. The whole thing takes less than five minutes, including paying and scheduling delivery.

If we get one of the younger delivery guys, we tip him extra to bring it in the house and set it in the stand. Someone holds the tree steady while I tighten it. Then I take a long piece of fishing line, wrap it around the tree, and tie that tree to the wall.

But I still display all the fragile and special ornaments elsewhere. You can never be too sure.

That folks, is how it's done.

2014 - Impulsive grainy iPhone pic. But the tree is secure.


  1. Hilarious! I'm glad you've finally found your happy place in the tree-choosing part of the holidays. We're still working out the kinks!

  2. This cracked me up. Thank you for sharing. Glad you finally got it right! ;)

  3. I love this picture of the real tree hunting experience.....thank you for the giggle.