St. Petersburg Garden

St. Petersburg Garden

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Pressure of a Tree

The Christmas Tree. Images of perfection spring up when I think of my Christmas tree. Not always the ones I have had in the past, although I must admit there have been a few perfect specimens, but always the ones that I see in my head. The one I envision is tall and perfectly round. Fat, not skinny. Perfect trees can't be skinny. Ironic, isn't it? The branches must be sturdy. I prefer the Noble Fir. Those branches can handle any ornament I throw on. Some people don't understand what goes into looking for a perfect tree. They just see a green mass laying on the ground and think, eh, a tree's a tree. Noble fir, Douglas fir, what's the difference? Oh the shame of it all. One heavy ball on a branch and you'll know. You'll know.

Every year we get our tree at Home Depot. We have never been disappointed with the selection of fragrant evergreens that line the parking lot. It also helps that it is less than 2 blocks from our house. When you drive a Prius and refuse to settle for anything less than a 9 foot Christmas tree, location means everything. I had been stalking the lot for a week now.

Watching them bring in the trees, putting up the fence. I knew it was time. I was hoping for a giant this year. I was pulling for a 10 footer. Go big or go home - that's my theory. We agreed and chose our tree. We were like kids. We stared up at that tree like it was Rockefeller Center. That's when we knew we were in trouble. Even the tree guy knew it. It was too heavy for even him to lift. If this guy couldn't manage, how could we get it home and into our house? Damn. We had to go down. It wasn't all that bad. This was 9 feet of fat perfection. Sure, the bigger one had the height but this bad boy had it all - tall, fat, full - we had picked a winner.

Now it was time to let the decorating begin. Our friends came over to mount the attack and the carols began. Charlie's job was to just look cute. I think he completed his portion really well. We let the guys work on the outside and the girls set out to tackle the inside. Of course the not-so-fun task of stringing up the lights always falls to me so I got right to work. Interesting fact - lights.

For some unknown reason this has always been my job. East Coast, West Coast, snow, rain, slight electrocution (never let your parents save lights for more than 10 years people), yes, I've always been the light person. Hhhmmm. Apparently once you have been deemed the light master there is no way out. Ever.

A wise cousin once told me that you must put one hundred lights per each foot of tree and then a little extra. This meant we needed at least a thousand lights. Yes, we ran out. One trip to the store later (thanks friends) and we were finally done. With the lights anyway. Whew. This is tough work, this Christmas joy stuff. But hey, nothing that a little champagne can't cure. The decorating tradition always consists of champagne and carols. I love traditions.

Ornament time had finally arrived. Of course we aren't a child friendly house and most of our tree attire is breakable. Which is always a great thing when having children over for a holiday party. We put as many non-breakables as possible at the bottom of the tree and each of us took turns for pictures as we climbed the ladder to put the star on top. I'm a firm believer of a star topper.

I used to have an angel but the old branch-up-the-butt-of-an-angel thing finally turned me into a star believer. Just imagine how the angel feels. We had a few casualties - some broken balls, sure it's bound to happen - but overall it was another night of successful memory building. Perhaps our last Christmas time in Southern California was made all the more special because our friends took the time. Period. They just took the time and that's what it's all about.

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