Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Year(s) without a Christmas Tree

I've admitted to some pretty big flaws here -- laziness, poor parenting, bad fashion sense -- and they usually garner some cyber-nods of identification or some encouraging words. Brace yourself here, because I may be admitting the unforgivable here. People may be tempted to throw some cyber-tomatoes my way.

This year, we aren't putting up a Christmas tree.

Actually, this is the third year that I haven't had a Christmas tree in the last fourteen years of marriage and independent living. The first is probably forgivable by anyone. It was 1997. We didn't have any children. We had movers coming to our first home on December 23rd to pack up all of our belongings so that we could leave on December 26 to drive to our new home in Portland, Oregon. It was the sensible choice, but it did feel a little dreary that December.

The second year was two years ago. I think that the Grinch got me that year. We weren't able to get a tree the first weekend in December, and I just thought, "What's the point?" Kyle was of the age that I thought a tree might create an additional temptation that I didn't want to deal with either. I put greenery on the mantle and I bought a four-foot-tall fiber-optic tree to stand in for the real thing.

Last year we did get a tree and Amanda got the four-foot-tree in her room, and the tree fell over -- twice. That did nothing to root the love of Christmas trees in my heart.

If I had my preference, we would decorate on Thanksgiving weekend, but since we've lived here in Connecticut, we are always away from home that weekend. We also leave town for Christmas, so by December 23rd, we are gone and don't return until the end of the year. This year the first weekend of December was full with Amanda having rehearsal for her Christmas program in the middle of the afternoon on Saturday and then her program itself on Sunday. So I felt a case of the Scrooges coming on again this year. Terry joined in a bit since this last weekend, when we had planned to get the tree, was muddy due to a recent thaw, which would have made cutting down a tree a messy proposition.

So once again, we'll use the little stand-in for a real tree. I also bought a nice big real wreath that will go over the mantle. The stockings will be hung by the chimney with care, but the tree will not be trimmed. We've never done any outside decorating, but the last few times I had gone to Costco, I had been eyeing a particular decoration that I knew would be a big hit with my penguin-obsessed daughter. So on Saturday I made a sacrifice of love and went to buy them as a peace offering to make up for the lack of a tree (those of you who have gone anywhere near a Costco on a Saturday in December will understand what I mean by sacrifice). They were a hit.


Gotcha! Or maybe not. This post was originally posted December 11, 2007, and I was looking for it to reference as I tell you about decking the halls, and so I decided to just post it again and see if I could make anyone's blood boil or cause some of you to want to stage an intervention. Did it work? Did I fool anyone.

Trust me, we are festive this year, and I will be putting up a post in time to participate in Boomama's Christmas Tour of Homes December 15.

What about you? How are you feeling this year: Festive? Frugal? Frankensteinish? or perhaps Frankincensy?


Carrie said...

You actually had me UNTIL I got to the part about the penguin from Costco. I can't see those giant penguins anymore without thinking about your kids! But there was a picture with last year's post too, wasn't there? That's why I always identify the penguins with Amanda.

I HADN"T HEARD ABOUT THE TOUR OF HOMES! OOOOoooo COUNT ME IN! That is SO FUN! (I can't wait to see pictures of whatever it is you are doing this year. ;)

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

I added the picture in. I just didn't copy down that far the first time, and it's adorable.

This year they are at the top of our driveway, greeting all the passersby.

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

It was the penguins that tipped me off, too. I'm feeling rather Frankensteinish but that's a whole other topic. = ) We have limited decorations this year. I'm hoping to join the Tour.

Karla E said...

Surprisingly very festive. We got our tree was 65 degrees here in San Antonio, so not Christmasy...but we found a 9 foot tree to cut down...that's a rare treat here in South Central Texas.

Dianne said...

You got me and I was just thinking "Oh good, so I'm not the only person not putting up a tree this year!" Sheesh, now what do I do! (I am really NOT putting up a tree this year . . . for a multitude of reasons). I am feeling Free to do whatever it is that makes our holiday happy, and a tree this year just doesn't factor into the mix.

heather said...

I'm reading this thinking, haven't I read this before? I remember he not putting up a tree before.
We put our tree up this year. Her name's Sally. She's bowed. Not as in ribbon. As in leg-ged. Or arrows. One of these years, I'll learn.

Martha said...

I knew the pic looked familiar! We are decked out since the weekend after Thanksgiving. We have added an A&M tree to our living room; only A&M ornaments on a white tree and collectable A&M Santas around it...I'll send a pic. It's fun. I am really feeling claustrophobic this year. The house just seems too full and I didn't put everything out. Steve also is in that mood, no lights this year along the street side on the fence (but the are on out front and at his work!) Will look for your decorating at work!

Katrina said...

Whew. I was very confused, since I KNEW you were getting a tree this year. :) I think you have to do what works for you every year. I'm looking forward to when Logan's a little older and I can decorate earlier (and more extensively, if I want) without worrying about the battles and potential destruction. This year, the tree is up, as are the outside lights...having trouble getting motivated to do more than that, though.