Friday, December 14, 2007

Revenge of the Christmas Tree

For the first time in umpteen years, we bought a real tree. It’s a noble fir, about 10 feet tall, twelve in its stand. It’s a grand tree. Usually, we put up our fourteen foot artificial tree. We’ve had it for years, and it too is a pretty tree.

This year we decided on a real tree since my daughter, who moved out of state this past summer, is coming home for the holidays. Of course, a real tree means you have to buy lights (my husband wired the lights onto our other tree so each year we just take it down from the attic, assemble it and voila, a lit tree). And you have to buy a stand. We did all that.

We brought the tree home, bungee corded to the top of my little Rav. Between the two of us, we got it into its stand and spent time adjusting and scooting and turning until it was perfectly straight from all angles. My husband is an early riser. He rarely sleeps past four. So, over the course of two or three days, he put on all the lights and strung the red beads.

That tree was staring to look pretty good!

Yesterday, he had to drive to New Braunfels for a lunch meeting, so I started decorating. Gone are the sturdy metal limbs of our old tree. The limbs of a noble fir are surprisingly wimpy. So top priority are ornaments the kids made when they were little, the official Texas ornaments, any that are reminders of travels (I like to pick up ornaments on our trips), and the lightest ornaments in our tubs. I should have counted, but I’m guessing about a hundred, less than half what we usually put on our tree.

I’m just about done without going to get a chair to stand on, when I go to put on one more ornament. As I do, the tree begins to lean toward me. Tilting, tilting. I try to stop it by bracing it with my left shoulder. Mistake I immediately realize since that’s my hurt shoulder. Too late. It’s now me against the tree. When I try to push it upright, the base scoots away from me. Water is now gushing out of the stand. The tree stops sliding when the base, now up on one end, hits the wall. Lights and strings of shiny beads are tumbling loose; ornaments are tinkling and bouncing as they hit the tile floor. And I’m leaning backwards, my head and shoulders lost in the tree, lips kissing tree trunk.

Down I go, ten foot tree with me. To my knees. To the floor. I lay it out, the base still in the stand, the top third of the tree across the ottoman. And I crawl out from underneath.

No way can I upright it by myself. I grab towels to try to soak up the water. I wait a few hours until I think my husband is through with his meeting and call to tell him I’ve finished decorating the tree.

After all the holiday movies where Christmas trees spontaneously catch fire or they fall over on grandpa or a raccoon leaps out and lands on Aunt Bee’s wig or Chevy Chase does something horrendous to the poor tree, I’ve decided my tree realized I was a writer and it decided to take revenge.

In case this is not an isolated incident, but rather a coordinated effort, be careful walking past your own tree. And for goodness sakes, don’t let it know you’re a writer.


  1. Helen,

    That tree gave you a great story!

  2. I'm happy to say the tree is back up (anchored to the wall now), re-decorated and waiting patiently for my son to put on the tree topper. He wants to wait for his sister to be there before he balances the angel (he gets the job since he's 6'10" and it's easier for him to stand on the counter and reach the top). The beautiful tree seems to have forgiven me for being a writer and has done nothing more but twinkle beautifully and quietly.

  3. Sounds like the National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation! We watch that movie every Xmas Eve. This year I'll think of you and your tree while I'm watching it!! :-)


  4. I like that tradition! We always read "The Night Before Christmas," but the kids are a bit old for it now. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is a great idea.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...