Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Oh Christmas Tree
If you are of the Christian persuasion, it's pretty likely that if you have NOT decorated a Christmas tree yet this year, you will be doing so very soon. Even if you're not of the Christian persuasion, you may be decorating a Hannukah bush. Or a Kwanza stick or a Festivus pole. 'Tis the season to decorate shit, with varying degrees of success. And varying degrees of enthusiasm, depending on what stage of life you're at. I remember my first tree. It was pretty sparse in the ornament department. So much so that a friend who shall remain nameless (MR. DOG) remarked upon that fact. Well, that laid down the gauntlet and resulted in years of furious ornament acquisition. Subsequently, the tree got fuller. And fuller. So we got another tree. And another tree. And little mini trees. These trees eventually developed themes. With names like "Fruity Woodland Splendor". I shit you not. Fruity Fucking Woodland Splendor. There was a tree covered with silk magnolias, white doves and a gilded bird cage as a tree topper. That one didn't have a name but if it did it would be something like "This Woman is Bat Shit Crazy". So this crap goes on until Jack was crawling and sticking anything that was not nailed down into his mouth and knocking shit over. That's when the "good" ornaments started moving up the tree. As any good tree trimmer knows, it's all about balance. So the tree(s) starts losing a bit of luster. But then the kid gets older and order is restored. There are a few good tree years there. Until the kids start getting interested in "helping". Oh God. This is a REALLY sticky wicket because tree trimming is supposed to be a warm, family activity of Rockwellian proportions. It's not supposed to be about showmanship, right? Wrong. Jack "helped" this year as he has since he was able. This helping involves putting the ornaments that I always consider "back of the tree" front and center. And grouping things together. Like ALL of the state of Michigan sports related ornaments together. And everything he ever made at school together. So you've got Detroit Lions and Red Wings ornaments in one group and balls of yarn in the next. Again, in the front of the tree. Thus begins the stealth operation I've begun to think of as "The Dance". The Dance often involves the art of distraction. "Oh look! There's a bat in the house!" Move an ornament. "Oh look! A naked lady!" Move an ornament. Because it is very, very important that the kid does not realize that you have moved an ornament. I'm not sure why, but so far Jack is not on to me. Eleven-year old boys are not all that detail oriented it seems. Once it's up and on the tree, it's out of his mind. Thank God. I'm still fighting the good fight. Sorta. I am down to one tree. This may be an indication that I am reaching the next stage in which you start relinquishing control. My friend Bethany posted a picture on Facebook of her family tree. In a bold move, she let her husband and kids do the trimming. She even left the house. The result was actually rather charming. Colored lights on top, white lights on the bottom and most of the ornaments clustered around the middle. And in groups. She posted a picture of a few angels together. She said her kids probably thought the angels were too insecure to hang out by themselves. Maybe next year I myself will be secure enough to let Jack and Dave take the wheel. But of course, there will come a time that Jack has no interest whatsoever in the tree. He'll be too busy being a belligerent teen to give a crap about ornament placement. And then I'll have my tree back. Can you say "Wintery Pheasant Phantasy"? Of course you can.