Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas Tree Snob

Along with the majority of Christmas celebrating Americans, I put up my Christmas decorations this week. I'm usually a day-after-Thanksgiving kind of decorator, but due to given circumstances, it just wasn't an option this year. So I spent Monday night with the fam picking out a Christmas tree in the rain. That's right. We're a real tree family. I just can't justify saving the money if it means sacrificing that pine smell and the fun of picking out a slightly imperfect tree, trying to get it home without loosing it to oncoming traffic, and spending hours trying to get it to stand up, then hoping it doesn't die before Christmas. Why would I give that up?

Speaking of trying to get it to stand up...we already had an episode with the tree tipping over. We usually tie the tree to the wall to prevent such a disaster. I couldn't find the hook we use so I figured we'd be fine for a few days until some one got to Home Depot. No such luck. Thanks to my animal like reflexes, I caught the tree before it landed on any small children. Trying to keep the tree in an upright position while crouching underneath to re-tighten the screws on the tree stand all with my bare hands and bare forearms was a joke. But, the tree is still standing and I made it out with only a few minor scratches.

I love our Christmas tree. Last year, Spencer and I decided to forgo all Christmas decorations that made us look like a middle-aged couple. The majority of our Christmas decorations were from my mom...ones she was getting ride of like 8 years ago or something. Now if she didn't want them 8 years ago, why would I want them now? The answer is...I don't. It was all we had. So I put up these out dated Christmas decorations year after year. Last year we had had enough. Spencer and I decided we'd rather have sparse youthful decorations than a winter wonderland we were ashamed of. So we are down to three measly boxes of decorations. Two with tree decor, and one with a nativity, a few random Christmas things that I don't put out but can't bare to part with due to the memories attached, and this fantastic red velvet and white fur blanket my mom made for us last year.

I do, of course, have dishes as well. I have snowman dishes that I don't decorate with. But I fill my open kitchen shelves with red, green, and red and green striped dishes. I have darling little Santa Claus mugs where his hat turns into the handle. And some super cute mitten shaped plates from RubyAnn. I'd take a picture, but still no luck with the camera.

Back to the tree...I am a horrible mother when it comes to tree decorating. I just like my tree to look a certain way. I want the whole thing to coordinate. My poor children were so excited to open the boxes of decorations and start hanging things on the tree. They were of course immediately drawn to the few tacky ornaments I own and unevenly spaced them them right on the tree. I had to warn them that not only would the ornaments not be where they placed them, but they wouldn't even be on the tree when they woke up. Yes, I decorate the tree when my kids are asleep to avoid poorly placed ornaments. As if to make up for not letting them touch the tree, I did wrap their bunk bed in a strand of colored lights. One of these years, they're really going to insist on hanging all their homemade ornaments on a Christmas tree and I'm just going to have to break down and buy a second tree, because there's no way they're hanging those on my tree. Yes, I'm a Christmas tree snob.

I wish I could describe in words the spectacle that is my Christmas tree. But all I can come up with is that it's red and green and teal all over. Well, not ALL over. I found some great plastic ornaments that look a lot like my glass ones to decorate the bottom of the tree with. But I don't have red or teal plastic ornaments. So the portion of the tree in arms reach of a small child is just green and silver (oh yeah, red and green and teal AND silver). Not that it matters if it's in arms reach or boys are pretty creative in their mischief. I don't put it past them to break even the ornaments at the tip top of the tree. We tried to pick the tree with the sharpest needles possible with hope to defer the crazies from messing with it. But yesterday, I found Parker pulling pine needles off one by one. When I asked him what he was doing, he told me he was taking all the 'poke-y' things off so nobody will get hurt. So much for that idea.

I also made a fabulous tree skirt last year with big, shiny red and green and teal wedges all the way around. It looks a lot like a parachute. I did ask Santa for a new camera this year. Hopefully I will be able to get some pictures up before decorations come down. My concern is, by the time Christmas comes, the tree will be dead and all ornaments removed (or unevenly spaced) from the bottom of the tree. Nothing looks quite as magical by the time Christmas comes.

I decided to turn on some Christmas music as I was decorating all alone. I needed something to get me in the Christmas spirit (as if the whining of my children wasn't enough). I found my self turning on a Barry Manilow Christmas. It turns out I don't need out dated decorations to turn me into a middle-aged woman. I must be a middle aged woman at heart. If it's any consolation, I did first search for Bare Naked Ladies Christmas Album, but chose Barry instead when I realized I left BNL in the car. I don't know if that's really a consolation. They probably haven't been cool since I was in high school. I have a weakness for cheesy Christmas music. I look forward to it all year. I infact have quite a large collection of embarrassing Christmas Cd's. Evident by the fact that when Barry Manilow was over, I turned on Christmas with Kenny and Dolly (that's Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton). I luckily married someone with the same weakness. It's the one time of the year we somewhat agree on music. I have no idea why I just admitted to this. I'm sure it gives Traci something to make fun of me for for the rest of my life.

I am grateful for the joy involved in the Christmas season.


Valarie said...

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog. (If leaving a comment on a blog that is written by a person you don't know makes you a stalker, then I am a super stalker!!) :)
I am the same way with my tree! I actually let my children decorate it and then when they go to bed that night I redecorate the whole thing to bring it up to my standards. I blame my mother for this. Growing up we actually always had 2 trees. One was for the children and one was strcictly for her.

Autumn said...

Wahoo! I am SOOO with you on the real tree. The only problem is that for us, it means waiting way too long. I hope Santa drops a camera off before Christmas and then brings you another present for Christmas. I want to see the tree! I too have contemplated the ornament thing-my mom was always kind enough to put our silly things up, then when it came time for me to get my own tree, I wondered if I would have the heart to allow my kids to do the same?

~Pedersens~ said...

KATIE! i hope you get a camera soon, i would LOVE to see pictures of your christmas dishes and your christmas tree! BTW i LOVE christmas music too! i love this season. happy holidays.

Traci Elizabeth said...

I am super offended! Why and when would I ever make fun of you?? Actually, you are right...Dolly Parton? I love christmas songs in church, or caroling---but I hate christmas music on the radio!! I hate that every singer thinks its their duty to redo a christmas song. I know, I am scrooge.

I am the same with the christmas tree. I bought really cute ornaments from target last year and am excited to use them this year. Yesterday Cameron and I were in the car and I told him that I cant wait till we have a bigger house, one where I can have my fancy tree in one room and the family tree in another room!! He thinks I am crazy, but its something I have always wanted to do.

Anyhow, have fun with Dolly.

Lauri said...

One of the VERY FEW advantages of living alone is that I can decorate for Christmas any way i want to. My tree looks fabulous! In fact, my whole house looks fabulous. I no longer even get out the stuff from the 1980's (or 90's for that matter). It's still in a box in the garage because I can't bear to get rid of it but neither can I bear to put it anywhere INSIDE my house.

I think back to when I was a kid. We only had 1 tree and my sweet mother put every hideous thing we made in school on that tree year after year. I'm sure she'd seen the magazines and knew what was beautiful but she appeased her children and made us think our homemade ornaments were the most beautiful ones in the world.

Jeffrey Benson said...

Tracy won't be the only one making fun of you for your taste in Christmas music...I'm ashamed of you on this account.

Tracy, I'm with you. Christmas music doesn't make it for me. I found most of it annoying and/or obnoxious. As with all things, there are exceptions...I love "Oh Holy Night" There's been a few albums that I've found that are great, but not many.

DKALC2007 said...

I will have to tell you about the first and probably last real tree we had our first year of marriage- it was not only crooked, and on sale, it died while we were in Chile, since my brother in law, who we paid to water it, didn't and then when I went to sweep up the needles, it broke my brand new vacuum! Dana said enough is enough! So, we then bought a $40 tree from Walmart, and that is what we have had since- a typical kid tree! Have you seen my blog?! The kids have asked that when we get a bigger house, can we have a bigger tree?! Too funny- sometimes kids make the rules, and sometimes we do- I so lost this one!

Cynthia said...

There are definitely some theories to holiday decorating - real tree vs. artificial, there's the day after Thanksgiving vs. waiting until Dec. 1st issue, apparantly there's the love vs. hate old fashioned holiday music, but the biggest one is the Christmas tree snob vs. the children's tree. I would have pegged you for a children's tree kind of girl, you suprised me on this one. I, too am a tree snob. One year we bought a cute little white picket fence at the gardening center. It was about 18" high and we put it around the tree with all the presents inside. It solved the toddler problem and I actually looked mighty cute!
A less successful idea was putting a toy train track around the base of the tree. It looked adorable, but nothing says "stay away from the christmas decorations" like an electric train!

jeanine said...

I'm so on the opposite end. First off we have a fake tree... always have probably always will. Second we have an ecclectic variety of ornaments--most of them sentimental or with a story behind them. One day I DO hope to have a nice tree in addition to my "kids tree". And, as much as I love Christmas music I love the old classics--nothing beats Nat King Cole singing "The Christmas Song".
But we can still be friends right?

Judds said...

Real trees are the best but I broke down and bought a fake one. I bet your tree is beautiful! About this competition... I stink at it.