Some people enjoy decorating Christmas trees. I hit the peak fun of putting up the tree at about age 7. Then the ‘been there, done that’ vibe took over. I enjoy having a tree, but I’m not so keen on decorating it, especially with the tedious chore of un-decorating it looming short weeks away.
My wife could do without a tree altogether. It seems she carries some childhood hang-up about bringing ‘nature’ indoors. Even bound tight with strands of electric lights, a tree brings her too close to the horrifying concept of camping. Five years ago she convinced me to buy an artificial tree ‘for emergencies.’ We’ve had a tree emergency every year since.
That’s not all her fault. I don’t miss the days of lashing shrubbery to top of the car and digging pine needles out of my socks. Until the boys complain about our lazy Christmas spirit, we’ll continue falling back on the emergency tree. Which brings us to another Christmas tree emergency:
Putting up a tree with boys of 7, 3, and 1 is a special brand of adventure. Forgive me in advance; I can’t do it justice.
Christmas tree lights are mostly made in China nowadays, which explains their sturdy construction. A strand of raw eggs would be more durable. As I unwind the strands, Big Man drags them, without regard for their precarious filaments, to the most convenient outlet, because plugging cords in and turning lights on are his greatest pleasures. No matter that he killed half the bulbs winding them around table legs on his journey.
Buster tries to help, grabbing the opposite end of the strand and attempting to yank it away from his careless little brother. The strands work better for tug-of-wars than for lighting trees.
Big Brother helps me swap out bulbs to make complete, working strands. I tell him what color I want and he hands me a bulb. We make another complete strand and are about ready to start putting them up when I realize he hasn’t salvaged the remaining good lights from the half-dead strand. He cannibalized a complete strand I just made to provide me bulbs.
Meanwhile, Big Man and Buster want to tangle all the strands into a web.
I begin yelling, but a Christmas Angel stops me. The Spirit persuades me it would be more in keeping with the Season to pour myself a scotch. I always listen to Holy advice.
Somehow, we get the lights up. The boys attack the ornaments with a will, each eager to throw as many up as he can before they run out. Shiny things are hung two and three to a branch in the fervor. I let them run wild. I’ll spread the ornaments out later.
No, I won’t. Maybe it’s the bright light of Christmas in their eyes or maybe it’s the warm glaze of scotch in mine, but I realize this is their tree now. I’ll leave it just as they made it.
Oh, it’s a brave new world, and a tangled web we weave, when we decide to let the kids retrieve, the lights and ornaments. Happy holidays to you and the family, Scott :O)
The next generation is putting their stamp on the holiday décor. Stamp away, stamp away, stamp away all! And a great Holiday Season to you and yours.
Bought a fake tree years ago…I love it, but it wouldn’t make much of a blog post, “I got the tree out of the garage and went back to watching football.” I do enjoy reading about the chaos in your house so keep on doing what you’re doing.
That’s the thing about chaos; it’s very difficult to stop, even if you wanted to stop it.
Good on you! I do understand how hard it is to not move the ornaments around. I fight that little demon every year. We have the little tradition that me and my husband put the tree up (not a real one) end of November with the lights and then the kids put up one ornament each per day from then onward. The tree starts shaping into a nice colorful something. Sometimes I stand there and really want to swap ornaments around just to get it a little bit more even, but as you said, then you realize how much they love their tree and it’s so much better to see the sparkles in their eyes and the pride than having the ornaments spread out evenly…
Now that it’s up, I have a one-year-old who loves to unscrew the lights from their little sockets. I guess the good news is this means the lights must not be getting very hot. But we do develop some very dark spots near the bottom of the tree.
Oh no! Hehehe…
An emergency Christmas tree is a brilliant idea! I might just steal it. 😉 Love what your little boy said about needing more bling? 😀
If you use your emergency tree every year, instead of buying a real tree, it gets to be pretty cost efficient after 5 or 6 years.
We don’t have kids we managed to get out fake tree that came with lights upstairs and in our window. We have not decorated it and decided we just like the lights so you’re not alone.
Go borrow some kids to mess it up for you. Then you can feel the true meaning of Christmas.
I shall take your advise under consideration. I’ll arrive at a decision after Christmas. 😉
Oh, Scott! You will have fond memories of these days a few years from now. In the meantime, who cares how many ornaments are hung on one branch and who cares if all the lights are not working? The whole point in Christmas is to act like kids and have fun. I do like your Holy Guidance … even though I don’t drink I just might with 3 young boys. Merry Christmas, my friend. To make your day (or at least I hope) as one of my Mother’s gifts, I gave her your book, “Housefly in Autumn”. I was so impressed with it, that I had to get a copy for her. There, feel better now? LOL ❤
As good as the little boys are at breaking the lights, the bigger boy is that good at pointing out which lights don’t work once they are up. Acting like kids goes a lot of different directions, depending upon the age of the kid. And yes, you did make my day. Having someone give your book as a gift after reading it themselves is proof that you’ve made an impression. That makes all the work worthwhile.
You inspire ME, Scott, because on of my Dreams is to write books. My Life is so crammed the TIME element is what is against me right now. Some day soon … 🙂 ❤
Thank you Amy! Here is some advice I wrote about finding time to write over at my other blog. It may be helpful:
Which is why I took over decorating duties a long time ago. On my own. Princess does show interest in helping her Dad. She’s now thirteen.
Maybe she can help me…next year. Provided she remains a good little girl in the coming months…
Helping you decorate a tree – is that enough of a reward to keep her on the straight and narrow? Maybe you should throw in a cash prize.
What can I say? She loves her Dad.
I’d still have some cash ready.
I actually do. Plan B.
You know him so well. (and try not to sing that…)