Dispatches from Suburbia

If I played an instrument, I would have a band called "The Simon Thomsen Sex Tape"; and other musings, rants, and disconnected ramblings.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Oh, Christmas Tree

"Only one thing in the world could've dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window."
-Ralphie, A Christmas Story

My family is one of those for whom old habits die hard. Every Christmas, we still stubbornly purchase a live tree to erect and in the living room and decorate with decades-old ornamaments, many of which we have no clue where they came from.

I've noticed that people don't do that very often anymore. Nowadays, Christmas is about the cute Santa-with-a-barbecue ornaments from Hallmark and the Pottery Barn's hip flocked branches poking out of an overpriced vase that, I'm sad to admit, actually looked kinda cool. I'm giving in much too easily.

In fact, Kim and I, I'm somewhat sad to say, put up a fake tree in our apartment. If it were up to me, we'd just put up a little ceramic tree, no taller than a foot, that lights up on it's own and requires no decorating. Maybe, only maybe, would I go the extra mile and celebrate Christmas bachelor style and put a string of lights around the CD tower.

But the bachelor Christmas isn't happening this year, and Kim wanted a tree to decorate--she simply did not want to spend the holiday season vacuuming pine needles.

Though the easy cleanup is a relief for Kim and I, I miss the magic of the labor involved with putting up the real thing. I'm actually looking forward to the car ride in Mom's CRV to the tree lot. I'm looking forward to Dad, Robbie, and I precariously tying down the tree to the top of the vehicle with bungee cords and old, frayed, rope. For some inexplicable reason, I look forward to sawing off the bottom of the tree and dunking it into the green tree stand that always makes it a total pain in the ass to get the damn tree to stand up straight. I look forward to the needles in my fleece, the stubborn sap in my hands, and the tinsel in my hair.

And now that I no longer live at home, I have more to look forward to. This year, I'll allow myself, once that final deteriorating homemade ornament is up, to give my goodbye hugs and kisses, bid the messy tree farewell, and make my way to my apartment, where Kim and I will spend the evening sipping cocoa and fluffing the wire and plastic branches, making them look more realistic.


At 4:54 PM, Blogger Erik Donald France said...

Christmas variations are always fascinating. I do love some kind of set up, large or small, and at least some time spent with family. Most improvised time I recall was visiting my grandmother in Mexico and finding a tiny live spruce tree that we gave to her. Most bizarre was dragging an oversize pine into my parents' living room and having to use a chainsaw to cut it to size, a horse walking into the room during the whole event. I love the smell of oil & gasoline fumes on Christmas morning ;)

At 6:01 PM, Blogger Danny Tagalog said...

Tree ornaments always fascinated me as a kid. You would use some one year then lose them for the next three years until they miraculously appear agaon. Seemed magical when young.

Here in Japan, the homes are too small for classic trees, so we have to make do with tiny plastic attempts. Better than nothing, but I do miss the original.

At 8:48 PM, Blogger Michelle's Spell said...

Oh my God -- this picture is perfect. I'm crazy about a Charlie Brown Christmas and will accept no substitute!

At 1:41 AM, Blogger ShadowFalcon said...

Despite not being christian my folks always indulged us in the whole x-mas experience, until my sister decided we should celebrate it anymore. Snice I got married though I've been trying to recapture that loving family warm fuzzy x-mas feeling, my husband being from a huge Irish family gave me hope...only problem he hates x-mas...

I wish we had a tree...

At 2:28 AM, Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2:30 AM, Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

The whole commercial Christmas experience terrifies me. Especially shopping. I'd rather be in a room full of convicts than go to the mall. As for fake trees, I believe you can get that Christmas tree smell in an aerosal can if you don't mind killing a few ozone layers. (I hate typos; thus the deleted commented above.)

At 9:32 AM, Blogger melanie said...

no... fake trees are really OK. No mess. Just buy some pine spray to make the room smell like the real thing!

its all about the lights anyway. (advise from my visual display days)

merry merry!

At 7:47 PM, Blogger Laura said...

The thing I remember most about past Christmas' is when the family would go out to pick out our Christmas tree. It was the best. In this house, I have to have a fake tree because the frontroom window, where I set up the tree has a heat duct right there and the real ones dry out too quickly. Then I'm afraid it will catch fire. I miss the real tree though.

At 11:34 PM, Blogger heartinsanfrancisco said...

If it isn't real, I don't do it. Christmas trees are three-dimensional, including aroma, and plastic boughs and canned pine spray from Walmart just don't get it.

But really, what matters is that holidays and every other day be spent with those we love. The details are not important, they're just preferences.


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