Saturday, November 26, 2005

Decorating...Done! Shopping...uggh!

Adam and I had one of our first, and only fights over Christmas tree lights. I'm a perfectionist. I spend hours putting the lights on the trees. Hours! Each branch gets lit; in, out, on top, and underneath. It's a long, arduous process, and one that I used to enjoy and take immense pleasure and pride in.

That is, until the day we brought home the 12 foot tree, with a bottom branch span almost as wide. Balancing, and leveling the tree seemed like an unobtainable task, and by the time we were on tree stand number two, we felt pretty certain the tree was secure. I spent the majority of the day putting the lights on the tree. I turned the lights on, and felt that my efforts were worthwhile. Put a strand on, stand back, squint your eyes, and judge if the sparkles are evenly spaced. That's the way to achieve light perfection. Not only did I have to have a giant tree, but I also had to have a blue spruce. I love the color and scent, but the branches do major damage on your arms when you're winding in and out branches that are longer than you are tall. There is a reason they call the leaves needles. I decided that the branches could wait until morning for the ornaments.

A day of tree lighting demands a night of cocktails, and so we left to enjoy a relaxing night out. When we returned to the house that evening, the tree was on the floor, and the half the bulbs, crushed. I was in tears. Luckily, the cocktails added humor to the situation, and I dedided sleep would put it all in perspective the next morning.

The next morning we stood the tree up again, but not until we had purchased tree stand number three, and felt damn sure that this one would work. I redid the lights, and started adding the decorations. I was closed to finished, and turned my around to grab another ornament off the table, when I saw something starting to fall toward me. I quickly turned around, and caught the tree as it came tumbling toward me. I screamed for help, and Adam, Stephen and Cristin came running. Again, we managed to get the tree standing again. I was once again in tears, because a few favorite ornaments were broken, and I needed to readjust the lights and rehang ornaments. I was beginning to lose the Christmas spirit, and Adam was starting to tire of the entire ordeal. He threatened that he was going to throw the tree over the deck, and into the salt marsh, if I didn't stop crying. I cried more.

The tree did fall one more time, but we were both standing near it, and caught it. Adam then grabbed some fishing line, wrapped it around the tree, and nailed it to the wall. The tree didn't fall again, but it certainly made us less excited about getting the biggest, most beautiful tree we could find. The following year I purchased a 5 foot tree, that I could lift wiht one hand and practically threw the lights on and let them stay as they lay. The entire decorating proces may have taken ten minutes.

Last year we made the huge decision to buy a pre-lit, 7 foot tall, and very narrow tree. I love it. I burn Christmas scented candles, and don't miss the scent of a live tree one bit. Life is good. We now focus on outdoor lights, and the headache of putting lights on the indorr Christmas tree is behind us. One day we may forget the epsiode of a few years ago, but for now it's much too fresh in our minds, and we are eternally grateful for the person who invented the pre-lit Christmas tree. It truly is a masterpiece, and has probably saved more than one marriage.

We completed most of the decorating today, and I'm pretty pleased with all we've done. We'll add more, but the main thing is we did it all with no stress and no problems. As for the shopping, there's still time. Time, and the internet.

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dena at 11:32 PM



at 12:48 AM Blogger Carmi said...

Photo 4: the glow off of Ethan's face is heartwarming.

I love this vignette. Even though I've never had a tree, I love its significance and the warmth it casts through homes and lives in the runup to the holiday. Icons are important in life, not simply because of what they are, but because of what they represent and how they tend to color our lives.

at 12:53 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michele sent me.

Dena, I have to say - I could have written this post! The Christmas of the live three and the two stands and the ticked off husband still looms in our memory and last year we, too, bought a pre-lit tree. Like you, I would spend hours wrapping lights around each branch to get the maximum twinkle factor. I am glad to be released from that little corner of frustration and focus on what matters; the memories behind the ornaments and the traditions of our family.

Oh, and the ornaments broken thing? one year our cats brought the live tree down and some of my most precious ornaments were broken. Amazingly, the cats did live through my anger, but they stayed away from me for a week! Smart cats, huh?

at 1:10 AM Blogger Begered said...

Hello, Michele sent me!

A 12 foot tree? Wow! I usually get a 5-6 foot tree and it frustrates me to end and I only spend 15 minutes on everything! Your story was very comical and I hope you will be able to laugh about it someday :) I myself have been thinking about buying a pre-lit tree. I am very glad to hear you love it! I wasn't too sure how it would compare to the real thing. Thanks...I might go and buy one!

at 2:52 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a child I always had a fake tree. When I got married I was so excited to have my very own REAL tree!

That was 19.years.ago.

nuff said

I am still fighting the battle though. The kids love the whole process of getting a real tree.

at 8:05 AM Blogger MommaK said...

Funny- we fight about the tree too. This year we didn't though so I guess that's progress or something, right? Today we tackle the outdoor lights. Holy shit is all I have to say about that!

at 8:15 AM Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

They were great pictures, especially the darkened ones. My father never likes putting up the tree; it's something he grudgingly does.

Michele sent me here.

at 8:23 AM Anonymous mar said...

Your 4th picture is what Xmas is all about. Just wonderful! Your tree is beautiful! My husband and I have different concepts about the Xmas tree because of our nationalities, I am thinking about a post since yesterday. But I am busy fixing lunch now !! :D

at 8:51 AM Blogger craziequeen said...

gee - and only a month to go..... :-)

I don't think I could put my Christmas stuff up this early...


at 9:26 AM Blogger The Mistress of the Dark said...

No decorating here until next weekend. I'm just not ready.

at 10:00 AM Blogger Indigo said...

Hello! Michele sent me! You poor thing, I would have cried too if my tree fell over that many times. I'm a total scrooge and would prefer no tree at all. However, my husband and daughter win every year, and we put up a tree.

at 10:42 AM Anonymous Kat said...

I love these pictures! I want one of those polar bears.

The tree (now that it's up and secure) looks great!

at 10:43 AM Blogger utenzi said...

Michele sent me, Dena.

I've never had a Christmas tree of my own. I'm thinking of buying an artificial one this year since they look so much better than they used to.

Your post really makes me think this is the best way to go. Your experience with the 12 foot tree (my God but that's huge!) must have been soul crushing, Dena. To lose so many ornaments is a tragedy. I'm sure lots of them had sentimental value. I hope you're on your way to creating many new ones that will be with you and your family for generations.

at 11:12 AM Anonymous Deana said...

Ethan is a great photo subject. He adds alot of zest to your pictures! He's too cute.

Martin didn't want me going too big on the tree for that reason. I settled for 81/2 but they sure do look bigger inside when you're trying to decorate the top! He said no nails in the wall and you pretty much have to with anything over 10ft. This year I picked a Normandy or Norweigan Spruce, it looked so pretty in the field but it hurts like hell when those little stems prick you!

at 1:50 PM Blogger Aginoth said...

12 foot !!! wow that's some tree.

We have two 6 foot pre-lit trees, never do the real tree things, far to much mess with falling needles.

Michelle sent me today :o)

at 1:51 PM Blogger Juggling Mother said...

I refuse to put Xmas decorations uo until December - but we'll being spending next weekend in the traditional fight the lights ceremony:-)

We've always had a fake tree - partly cos I'm allergic to pine oil & partly cos I absolutely could not face the hassle! My sister always gets a real one & I'm sure it's not worth it.

Here from Micheles today

at 5:06 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

we can't have a real tree due to allergies and the next tree i get is going to be one of those with the lights already on it, they look great!

at 7:09 PM Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I might have totally given uo forever on that huge tree...I'm like you Dena..a I truly ubderstand you crying eacg time this horror happened...especailly if you lost many precious ornaments...But how great that you figured out how to solve the problem---PRE LIT TREE!!! Hooray!
I love the pictures, too...I noticed as I was driving back from my 'back' doctor last evening, a number of houses are already completely decorated and lit up!!! And here it is....Not even the last day of November...but, I get that one must be done with that and then concentrate on 'The Presents'....I'm exhausted just thinking about what lies ahead!!! (lol)

at 9:37 PM Anonymous Mayberry said...

I thought I was the only person in the world that did the squinty eye thing to make the lights go blurry.

at 11:12 PM Blogger Carmen said...

We've got the pre lit tree too - had to get it after we finally realized that we kept having to take one of the kids to the ER for asthma - from the tree. Your tree looks beautiful!

Michele sent me, again. ;)


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