Sunday, December 5, 2010

So festive it hurts.

We put up our first Christmas tree as a family. It is hideous.

Ever other tree I've ever put up has been beautiful. Manicured. Themed, usually. Perfect.

So how is it that this one came out so hideous? How did we ever end up this way? Here's how.

The whole thing started off well. We found the farm alright. Oliver seemed to like being pulled in the sled. The countryside was beautiful after a fresh snow fall.

The weather was fine. I wore my furry trader hat and ran around with a saw, two things that always signal a rollicking good time. We found a tree. I cut it down with no problems. The bald spots/asymmetry of it were minimal.

We got back into the car and drove home. We had fun and Christmas carols in the car.

Until Daddy took the camera away, anyway.

Accusatory finger of The Doob.

We made a pit stop at my parents' house, and I realized that we don't have a tree stand. Or lights. Or ornaments.

My parents offered to lend us the use of theirs, and we accepted. We grabbed the two boxes labeled "Christmas" and headed home. Jared and I cut off a fresh stump and a few of the lower boughs before setting the tree in the stand. We went to tighten the bolts when we realized that half of the bolts were bent and couldn't be tightened.

So what did we do? We tightened the ones that would work, and settled for a crooked tree. Who would let a few bent bolts get in the way of Christmas spirit? Certainly not these people. Not in our house. We were determined.

I then cracked open the box of lights. Only colored strands, and about 50 odd replacement bulbs for sets they definitely no longer had.

Well, that isn't my style, but okay. We could deal with that. 

I plugged in a strand and it played obnoxious Christmas music, and it wouldn't stop. Also, the red bulbs didn't work. 

We vetoed that one.

The next strand was silent, but only the green and blue bulbs worked. The third strand had all working lights and colours, but was too short for our tree and could not be extended. The last set of lights had the green, blue, and red lights working. Feeling a bit like baby bear looking for the best bowl of porridge, we said, 

"Well? Green and red are the main Christmas colours, plus we get blue as a Hanukkah bonus! Good enough!"

We strung the lights on as best we could, and they looked okay. With all things considered, it looked great! Our tree was crooked and the lights were weird colours, but it would take more than a crooked tree and some funky coloured (seizure inducing & flashing) Christmas lights to slow down all of this festivity. After all, we couldn't give up at the first signs of trouble. What are we, grinches?! Certainly not.

We opened up the ornament box and realized that the only bulbs we had were red, with some sort of floral gold glitter on them. Tacky, but fine! I've seen worse! I put them on the tree.

 Underneath the bulbs were compartment after compartment of home made Christmas ornaments. Some of these handmade gems were molded with the help of an ashtray. Others were made from construction paper and Elmer's. Still more were festooned with glitter glue and tinsel garland. 

Every one of them featured a tiny, fading, red tinted picture of the kids who made it. Jared and I  strung them up, guessing which face belonged to which of my sisters. Each year I'd looked at those ornaments, but they were never hung. The trees I decorated always had themes - silver and red, blue and white, or candy cane stripes. I never used the hand made ornaments because they just couldn't fit in with the perfect, factory made beauties.

But this year (partially because we had no alternatives) I busted them out. 

Every. Single. One.

I put them all on, each one assigned a prominent spot to shine in garish glory. It felt right. It felt like us -  a family tradition that is a little bit embarrassing, a lot bit tacky, but well intentioned.

We stepped back, and took in the whole blinking, glittering, crooked hot mess of a Christmas tree.

We put up our first Christmas tree. It is hideous. And it is perfect.

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