Oh Christmas Tree

There are so many Christmas tree decisions to make. Real or fake? White lights or colored? Star or angel? Bringing together families with their own traditions can cause Christmas tree mayhem!

The first year Jeff and I were together, we argued a great deal about the tree. I was used to real trees growing up. I loved the smell and look of them. Jeff, on the other hand, was used to fake trees. Whenever he thought of real trees, he thought of sap and needles all over the floor. Neither of these were positive thoughts.

Okay, we’ll decide on type of tree later. Lights. I’m sure we could agree on lights. Nope. Jeff grew up with colored lights and I preferred white lights. Tree topper? I grew up with angels and Jeff liked stars. Garland? I wasn’t a big fan; Jeff loves the stuff.

Our ideas about Christmas trees were about as different as could be. We decided to compromise. The first year, we got a fake tree. We were in an apartment after all and needles might be annoying. Plus, we would have to drag the tree up to the second floor. With a fake tree, we would just have to drag a huge box up to the second floor, but at least there were no needles. It was actually a really good idea to get a fake tree. It was my first tax season and the tree stayed up until February. Yup, we had a tree on Valentine’s Day. Not our finest hour.

For lights, we decided to go with two colors. White on the inside of the tree and blue on the outside. Before I met Jeff’s family, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as interior tree lights. Jeff explained to me that one is supposed to run lights from the trunk of the tree, in rings, to the outer edges of the branches. I had never seen such a thing and sat down to see this spectacle for myself. After about an hour I got bored with it. After three hours, a friend came over and we started drinking spiked eggnog. After six hours and an entire bottle of eggnog, we couldn’t stop laughing at the fact that Jeff was still working on lights. After eight hours, I feel asleep. Two hours after I feel asleep, ten hours into the process, I woke up to see Jeff finishing the lights. Ten hours and 1800 lights later, Jeff plugged the tree in. I made sure to close the blinds as I feared that planes overhead might confuse us with Bradley International Airport and try to land. It was like something out of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It was very pretty though. Blinding, but pretty.

We ended up with silver garland on that first tree and a star. I liked the star, even if it wouldn’t stay straight. Every time I looked over, it was lopsided which drove me crazy.

That was our first Christmas tree. Since then, we bought the house and got cats. We came home many nights to find cats in the tree. The most fun was coming home one night to find that our big Maine Coon cat had found a way to get up in the branches of the fake tree. He would walk around one of the levels and because he was so big, he would knock the branches above out of place. As he walked around, he would knock loose the entire level, which would rest on the level below it and create a nice bed for him. He loved to sleep in the tree.  A few years we didn’t put up a tree because one of the cats was too little or because we were just too busy.

We did get a real tree two years ago. I loved it and it didn’t have as much sap as Jeff thought it would.  We’ve stuck to the white and blue lights, although Jeff has gotten much better getting them on the tree. I think he’s down to just two hours now. We stuck with the silver garland, even though most of it ends up on the ground because the cats think it’s a toy. We have never had good luck with stars. It appears that every year we’ve had to get a new one because the previous one died. We’ve also learned that shatterproof ornaments are our friends.  Last year, we didn’t get a tree because I was recovering from back surgery and was pretty much bed ridden when I wasn’t at work. We just didn’t see the point of putting one up if we couldn’t enjoy it.

This year, the cats have slowed down a bit and everyone is healthy, so I believe a tree is in order. I mentioned getting a real tree and Jeff did not object. My goal for today is to get a tree. We have a tree farm less than a mile from our house. I’m hoping it’s not one of those cut your own kind of things or Jeff might change his mind. I’m very excited about the tree this year.

Do you prefer real or fake trees? What about the lights? Are you a star or angel fan?

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