‘Trimming’ the Tree: Our Christmas Debacle
I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of this story–including a post I wrote about it on my now-defunct life blog–but I can’t stop sharing my cautionary tale with friends and strangers. Forgive me if you’ve heard or seen this one before.
In December 2000, my husband and I were new homeowners, purchasing our center hall Colonial from an elderly couple who had a penchant for electric blue carpeting. After decorating an artificial tree for five years in our previous apartment, I was ready to blaze a trail into the wilds of New Jersey to chop down our first live tree.
OCD tendencies run in my family, and I offer this up so you understand my mindset when tree shopping. We went from tree farm to tree farm in search of the ultimate tree–you know the one–angels trumpeting, rays of golden sunlight, etc. I also admit to spatial awareness issues, which is why we brought home a tree that was too tall for our living room.
I now submit to you photographic evidence of our first (and last) live Christmas tree:
After getting the tree in the house, I became obsessed with the bottom branches, which I deemed scraggly. I foraged in the garage for a clipper to remedy that situation. And that left us with:
At my direction, Anthony continued to trim off branches until the tree looked like this:
At this point, it was apparent we’d have to cut the trunk. Unfortunately, we didn’t own a handsaw. Instead, I grabbed a tree branch trimmer from our garage. Ours is older, longer, and more sinister looking than this one:
Our trimmer’s pole isn’t retractable and is about 15 feet long. I stood bracing the tree (in the holder filled with water) and Anthony stood in the foyer. He attempted to saw the trunk and the tree obliged him by hopping all over the living room, sloshing water as it went. Ultimately, we subjugated the tree and managed to trim it down to size, but by that point Anthony was no longer speaking to me.
We finished decorating the tree in silence, and I knew this would be the first and last live tree we would ever have in our home if I wanted to avoid divorce court.
For several years after this, we didn’t have a tree at all and just sponged off our parents and relatives when we needed our fill of Christmas tree decorating or cheer. Last year, I broke down and bought a PINK table-top tree. We put it away last January fully decorated and this year I just pulled it out of a garbage bag, plugged in it, and voila! instant Christmas tree!
Oh, and under that horrid blue carpet was stunning hardwood. Here’s how we ended up decorating the living room seen in the photos above:
So how about you? Do you bother with a tree and if so, is it real or artificial?