15 December 2007

Thelma, our Christmas tree

It started snowing right before we started out to find a Christmas tree. This was good, because selection of a Christmas tree should occur under falling snow, but also bad, because snow is naturally wet and cold. When it falls on you, the chances are high that you will get wet and cold.

That is exactly what happened: we got wet and cold. We looked around at rows and rows of trees in someone’s back lot, getting wetter and colder, and we felt all the branches, looking for the trees with the soft needles. We like the soft-needled ones better because they don’t prick you while you carry and set up and manage the tree, and they don’t fall off, so you don’t need to sweep every day. We are a fundamentally non-cleaning family, if we can help it. (Obviously we do clean. It’s just that if one can avoid extra cleaning, well, why wouldn’t one?)

We eventually, after moving the car a couple of times so as not to be too far away from it and its beautiful warm passenger compartment (recall: wet and cold), found the area where the soft-needled trees were located. We picked out a nice, tall, lopsided tree, and cut it down and strapped it onto the top of the car – this was shockingly easy because the soft-needled trees also seem to be the light trees, so one person can lift a nine foot tall tree quite easily.

We killed off a strand of lights in a manner involving sparks flying out of the socket, and ended up rather short on them, necessitating a trip to the infamous Meijer, but at last I was left alone (why am I always alone for this part?) decorating the tree to some lovely Bach. I have strategies regarding decoration, and all of them have some logic. I can be very logical. The delicate ornaments have to go up near the top, where we are less likely to knock them off and where the lower branches can buffer them if they do fall. The heavy ornaments have to be somewhere in the middle of the tree, where they can nestle back in the branches and be supported by the sturdier internal branches. The plastic ones have to hang near the bottom, so there is something interesting to look at around the bottom edge.

I also hang every single hangable ornament. Even though we have far too many ornaments (my mom teaches elementary school) and even though some of the older ones are hideous (we went through some poor years right after coming back from Liberia in which we pretty much had to make our ornaments), I still hang all the ornaments that have most of their pieces and a place for a hook to hang them from the tree. I just worry, with the same overly anthropomorphatization that used to keep all my stuffed animals tucked neatly into my bed, that they might be hurt if I neglect to hang them on the tree. Ornaments have feelings, too. Today, for example, I hung a one-google-eyed reindeer made out of a jingle bell.

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