Saturday, December 11, 2010

On the Hunt for a Tree

Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: you find the present tense, but the past perfect!
Owens Lee Pomeroy

Tis the time of year to get Christmas up in the house. Before us, the annual trek out to the tree farm, family in tow. Riding the haycart out to the fields, wandering the aisles of growing firs. "How about this one?" "Hey! Come see this one." and the inevitable "Just pick one for cripe's sake."

Then a stop at a small town BBQ joint before returning home to open the numerous boxes from the attic accompanied by exclamations of "Oh, isn't this fun?" and "Remember when you made this? When you were two?" "Put on some Christmas carols" followed by rearranging the furniture, getting the tree straight, the lights and ornaments placed. All the remaining decorations spread throughout the house and Bingo, the house transformed into an enchanted winter wonderland, Christmas on the horizon.

Back in the 70's when I met my husband and visited his house at Christmas, I was appalled to discover a tree similar to this in his parent's living room -

What kind of people would have THAT for a tree? Who didn't endure the family hunt for the perfect real tree? No smell of true pine in your house? No handpicking of prickling pine needles at tree's end?

Of course, that was just the beginning of the "fake tree" boom. Suddenly families could simply grab their tree out of the box in the attic and have it up in few moments. No wrangling the pine through the front door and hallway. No arguments on its best side, whether it was straight or not, the husband lying on the floor, twirling the trunk, losing patience while the decision made.

Alas, back to the present tense. I had hoped others in the family might garner interest in doing as always. That as my kids drifted in from jobs and college far away, they, too, might welcome the norm and perhaps generate some interest for me. Funny thing, they don't really seem to have the enthusiasm either.

Gives me pause for relief, and guilt. Relief because my kids are older now. I don't need to put on a perfect Christmas with all the baking, music, festivities. That I, as they, do want the family dinner on Christmas Eve, but maybe we don't need all the decoration hoopla. Guilt, because my husband, under protest, already put up the lights outside.

Perchance my apathy presides because it has been a very full year and I'm tired. Just plain tired.

I awoke four hours ago. I'm still sitting in bed, deciding on the process to come. I've perused via my laptop the shops in Austin with trees for sale. Not a normally barren lot with dry trees cut in October, but a store with real fake trees with the lights already on them. When I find one that arrives on wheels, completely decorated, and can be pushed back into its box and automatically lifted into the attic like magic, I'm buying it.

As to that silver tree of my in-laws, I want it.


  1. Yes, yes, feeling rather humbuggy myself. We don't even have a tree up here, and probably won't put one up. Without the kids, it feels weird. Besides, I'm spending Christmas with my parents and they have a tree, so WTH, I'll just enjoy theirs. We'll definitely be baking and eating. A lot.

    Love that quote you put up.

  2. Having spent the past three Christmases grieving a fresh loss, I feel empowered to absolve you of any humbug sins this year. You have had a year of loss and it will take time to absorb the changes brought by said losses. You are absolved. Buy a fake tree - a pre-lit one! Enjoy what brings you joy and skip what doesn't. Another year you'll find your Christmas spirit returning.

  3. Wait--you used to get to hear carols when you'd decorate the tree? Every year for me the TV is on with something violent playing in the background.
    I was a little humbug-ish with our tree this year. Found it stressful to have stresses and decorate.
    Enjoy the peace.

  4. I know the feeling well - but think of that gorgeous fir smell - and forget about the pine needles on the carpet.

  5. Every few years we get energetic and buy the real tree, but most of the time I put up the fake as it looks truly lovely. This year we will not be here for decided not to wrestle with the beast and tempt marriage catastrophe.

  6. When I was younger I swore I would never give in and get an artificial tree. I'm starting to rethink that...

  7. Well, I'll think of you when I cut my tree at the local cut-your-own perfect six-foot Noble. Everything already smells of pine here in Oregon. We don't care, we want more. High on Pineland!

    Happy holidays.

  8. I was having the very same discussion with myself. And then I remembered the 24" tree in the little box in the closet. The one that I used to put in the upstairs window for the deer and rabbits and coyotes to see.
    I need to haul that little thing out and bring it downstairs and plug it in.
    Yes, it is nice to pull out the ornaments and remember . . . and admire the sparkly garlands in the [rare] afternoon sunshine. But then comes the time to take the dang thing down and put it all away. No payoff there . . . except being able to move around the suddenly returned floorspace.

  9. I was feeling rather guilty until I read the last part of your post. While I have all my Christmas shopping done, I have done no Christmas decorating. The tree is up and it's decorated. It's a fake tree. And what's worse, my daughter put it up by herself and decorated the whole thing by herself. I'll put the Nativity scene out this week...but I think that'll be it. I am so terrible this year. I think I'll hang a sign up that says "Out to lunch" and go try to find some old time Christmas spirit.

  10. My mother had the shiny aluminum tree one year, complete with the revolving light...only 'one' year though!

  11. Don't feel bad, I've been feeling like that for five years! That is when I broke down and bought a fake tree. Just buy a "Balsam Fir" Yankee Candle and your whole house will smell wonderful! Cheers!

  12. A "real fake tree" sounds pretty good to me. Why do more if your heart isn't in it? I'm sure you'll do what feels right.

    Cute nostalgia quote.

  13. When you find that perfect fake tree e-mail me, I want one
    You have had a roller coaster year Julie, only you know what you feel like doing and everyone will be okay with it I'm sure.....:-)Hugs

  14. All things old are new again aren't they? Ha!! Hoorah for the silver trees of the world!!
    I am slowly getting Christmas in the house. Finally got the tree decorated. Woot!!
    But baking and such has long ago been abandoned!! Sigh! No interest on my part and not much interest from the kids.

  15. You have had a tough year so it makes sense that you are tired and might not be in the mood for all the hoopala. Even thought I struggle with Christmas, I am forced in a sense to play along, by the little's in my life. I love that they are over joyed by the simple and while we did not go cut down our tree we did buy a real one and got it decorated last evening...the magic that they feel when the lights come on and the joy they express at hearing the Christmas songs or watching a Christmas programs or playing around with the nativity scene...the fact that these simple things bring joy to them brings joy to me...still, if it wasn't for them, I wonder if I would do any of this. :)

  16. Christmas: it reaches either very high,or very low. No in-between. You've been through so much this year--do what makes the best sense. Hope all your boys (and DIL!) make it home for the holiday; that's a great way to lighten the spirit!

  17. I got a nice laugh when I saw the silver tree, complete with the mult-colored contraption that reflect colors upon it. Why? Because we had one during my early childhood. I heard they are commanding big dollars these days if you can manage to locate one buried in someone's attic.

    Since then, I've experienced live trees and the fake green trees. My husband prefers the fake, already wrapped in sparking lights. Soooo...that's what we have. My kids still love decorating it with our many sentimental ornaments.

    It's amazing the changes we go through for Christmas. I think being together with friends and family, ultimately determines its success...and a few good presents too. :)

  18. I am sooo with you on this fake tree deal. I have a very small fake one that I hang sock monkeys on each year. Easy Peasy is my motto and I don't give a hoot who thinks I'm lazy or ridiculous about it. After 56 Christmases I'm just plain tired of it all. Bah Humbug.

  19. My in-laws are environmental types who would never cut down a tree on purpose, so they drag in a big branch and decorate it. They inspire me (she who hates decorating). I can't wait 'til our kids don't feel the social pressures in the classroom and from neighbors to really "do it up" and get that fir tree. In fact, my plan for the future is to run screaming from the house, straight to an airplane aimed at an island, every December 22nd.

    That's a burgeoning tradition in itself, right?

  20. We've just put ours up. It's the smallest tree in the world and some of the baubles are bigger than the tree, but it's part of the family now after about 25 years of use ...

  21. Fight the urge! THere's nothing like the smell of a Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

    You got me jonesin' for barbeque...
    Feliz Navidad!

  22. It's funny how our ideas of "perfect" and such change over the years. I like the evolution that comes with it.

    Merry Christmas, Julie! Wishing you the best.

  23. I am not sure what our excuse is but we have fake trees here at the house, but help the in-laws go cut and haul fresh trees back to their houses--in aiding them, we get lots of work and not the fresh scent of enjoyment.

  24. Hahahaha, you make me laugh out loud, Julie! I must admit, I bought one of those dang fake trees out of apathy...getting my guest house ready with a real tree was enough...there will also be the aftermath of taking it out and gathering up the needles. Over at my house, a little table top tree in the window is all I want for Christmas this year...maybe next year, things will be different in the decorating department :)

  25. There's nothing like fatigue with a healthy dose of grieving to take the light out of the season. May you find just the right way to celebrate for both you and your family. I hope you find that perfect, perfectly fake, tree.

  26. I don't believe that I have ever put up an actual tree in my whole adult life. I don't have children other than quadripedal furry ones, though, and they don't care. I do, on occasion, throw a few prunings from the juniper into a vase and hang a few of Grandma's ornaments on them.

    Maybe this year is the one where you just relax and enjoy your family without pressure.

  27. ack! my comment just disappeared.

    I just echoed everyone's sentiment for you to do only what feels right. You can't force peace of mind or heart.

  28. Pine tree are the best tree of solid furniture's making.

  29. I remember, when I was a teenager, wanting a "groovy" silver artificial tree just like the one in your picture. Not any more.

    Went through the real live tree years and the accompanying issues...frostbite getting the tree...bugs pouring out of the tree as it warmed in the living room...and the inevitable falling over of the tree and water-filled stand.

    I'm just fine with my little artificial tree now.

  30. My grandparents had a silver Christmas Tree, with a globe under it that spun different light up through the tree. I loved that tree!

    I spent most of my time in the den, which was in the back of their huge farmhouse reading. I loved that room... the furniture was pure Texan. It was made of leather and the ends had wagon wheels with spokes. I would curl up with a book, and prop my head up with a pillow.

    At Christmas I would stare at that tree and dream my dreams... we got lots snow in the Panhandle, and had two herds of cattle to feed and the chickens.

    Christmas was really neat.

    I have a twenty year old at home and she hasn't been interested in Christmas decorating for years; never in cooking... and my husband quit putting lights years ago.

    I have a small tree because we've had puppies the last few years, but that small "fake" tree has brought us so much joy. I put three wreaths and pull Christmas for most of the rooms.

    I'll never ever let go of the Christmas Spirit. Even through the tough years, when I lost people I truly loved, I needed Christmas to remind me that "Love came down at Christmas."

    To me, that is what it's all about.

    God bless you.

  31. My **!? dashboard. Popped over to check you out since my dashboard is crazy.

    That silver Christmas tree you hated, is a collectors item now and be VERY expensive :)

    Wishing you a warm Merry Christmas to you and yours!
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  32. A Christmas tree would be nice- the challenge is in getting a real one here.


  33. We've always had a real tree but a few years ago, it became harder and harder to coordinate the tree hunting trip with everyone. Costco to the rescue. We got a beautiful 9' tree with lights. The girls hate it and walk around alternating between shouts and whispers of, "FAKE", "FAKE", "FAKE". I don't care. I love it. The best part is that the limbs are strong enough to hold my heaviest ornaments.

    Happy New Year!

  34. The Nude Celebrities Network Has Movies, Pictures, Tubes, And Blogs Featuring The Latest Nude Celebs. [url=][/url]


Let me know what you think. Every word you write, I appreciate.


Related Posts with Thumbnails