With that title, it does not seem like this post will be about the warm “fuzzies” of Christmas.
When I was a child we got a huge tree every Christmas…flocked. A Noble Fir looking like it was right out of a child’s picture book, covered with snow. My father NEVER went with us to get a tree, it was my mom’s job. Mom, my sister and I would go in search of the perfect tree. We never had our trees in water, the trunk was nailed to 2 x 4’s and we never had any trouble with it not standing up straight.
My family, correction my mom left the tree up until at least Valentine’s Day…..if she tried that now I suppose the fire department would come and give her a citation. Yes, it was embarrassing to have friends over around say…Ground Hogs Day and still have the Christmas tree up in the living room. (side note…why is there a “Ground Hog’s Day?” Don’t you think that ferrets, prairie dogs and squirrels would like their “own” day too?) As far as decorating went, the tree was the perfect color scheme for those Valentine’s Day parties…..white flocked with red balls…never any different….year after year…
When we did our stint in the Eastern United States we had an artificial tree. My mom was not happy about this AT All….the exile in the east or the artificial tree. Many moons ago, artificial trees were not great. I remember our first one….I think it barely lasted a year. I swear the holes “in the tree trunk” for the branches to go into were made out of PlayDoh and tissue paper.
Most every year as far as I can remember of my married life, there has been a Christmas tree fight. Okay I will qualify that and say “argument.” Now, our first year married, it was a perfect idyllic setting. Coordinating outfits, perfect smiles…Scrapbooking had not even been “invented” yet, but we set up the camera to take pictures of us decorating it. “Oh they are sooo cute!”
The Christmases when my husband had active cancer and was having treatments, I would take the boys and we would pick out the tree. My husband had no desire to have any part of the tree selection or setting it up for that matter. Understandably so, the chemo drugs had a profound effect on his system.
I would make picking out the tree a fun, worry free outing for the boys, we would stomp around in the saw dust at the tree lot. Sometimes a Santa would be at the farm, passing out candy canes. The boys would decide which tree would be best. I let them relax and have some fun while we chose a tree. If even for a little while, they could forget that their Dad had cancer. The boys would watch as one of the men at the tree farm would trim an inch off the trunk….there was no way my husband would have been alert enough to wield a chain saw!
We’d bring our tree home and get it in the side yard. This was the time when we’d have the “arguments.” From year to year, we never had the same size tree trunk. I remember at one time we had 6, count them six “sleigh bell” tree stands stored in the garage, all various sizes.
The boys and I would have hot cocoa with marshmallows in the warm kitchen and then they would go play, while mommy did battle with the tree stand. The Christmas my husband was having radiation, he came out and helped me. There was no arguing…..sometimes you don’t know whether this is the last Christmas or not…..why have a memory of a fight when it could be the last?
The Christmas he was having chemo; I got the tree in the stand myself….I prayed a lot…it was one of few times the tree slipped in without complaint.
Since that Christmas…Peter must have been 2…we’ve still had “tree stand fights.” I remember one tree stand that had a spike in the bottom of the bucket like container. It was our ‘easiest to use’ tree stand, until the year that the bucket cracked…..oh yes, you’re right it was a mess. It was a day or so after Christmas, so we knew the tree would be coming down in a few days time anyway. (No, I have never left a tree up until Valentine’s Day.)
Since Sam arrived on the scene the tree fights have lessened. Sam has a talent for picking out the perfect tree. Two years ago we got a noble fir, un-flocked. It looked robust but manageable in the lot. When we got it home, we needed a bigger family room! Our older sons made lots of jokes.
We’ve finally found a tree stand that works…after what… 28 years? It resembles a volcano…the cats love it. When I add water on one side of the stand, AJ gets a drink from the other….”Mom Cat – Love the new water bowl, but the garnish is a bit much…!”
If you are wondering what we did with 6 + “sleigh bell” tree stands, that’s a funny story. One year the cancer support group that we attended, had a Holiday Party and white elephant gift exchange….we took 6 tree stands, all beautifully wrapped.
If you are wondering about my husband’s health…how sweet you are…he’s been in remission for nearly 19 years. Happy Holidays.