Monday, December 31, 2007

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

© 2007 Leighann Lord

We put up a Christmas tree this year. Big whoop, right? Actually it is. We haven't put a tree up in our house in years. I hate the hassle. Putting it up is cumbersome and taking it down is worse. A ubiquitous symbol of Christmas cheer becomes a monument to procrastination the deeper you get into the new year.

I'm not a complete Grinch. In lieu of a tree, I throw a little tinsel on the TV, put the presents around it and turn on the yule log. Ta Da, a modern Christmas. Adorning the TV was fine when I was single but my Dear Husband, God help me, loves to keep Christmas well. Unchecked I think he'd be one of those guys who turns the house into a landing strip for Santa.

This year I finally acquiesced. Maybe it was my husband’s sad face or his sparkling baby blues. My money is on the Oreo cookie bash (OCB) he made for Thanksgiving. Unfamiliar? Think Oreo cookies, pudding, whip cream, a big spoon, and Diana Ross crooning in the background, “If there’s a cure for this, I don’t want it.” A religious experience that will soften the hardest of hearts.

I savored the taste of the OCB as we dug the tree out of the attic. After years of disuse it was shoved way in the back and had to be excavated from the detritus of old clothes, books and furniture. My family doesn’t know how to throw anything away. We hang on to old possessions like life rafts. The idea of letting anything go, sheer blasphemy.

It might have been easier to buy a new tree, a “real” one perhaps. But to me an artificial tree is a real tree if by real you mean not imaginary. I don't quite see the logic of killing a living tree every year when you can use an artificial one again and again. Isn’t that recycling?

Once freed from the attic, the tree itself was simple to set up, but the fun came in decorating it. Some of the ornaments were gifts from folks unaware of my Christmas TV predilection. The bulk were inherited from my parents; the upside of being the progeny of pack rats.

Every ornament was a sweet memory. The best was a yarn stitched, oak tag Christmas stocking that I must have made in kindergarten. My name spelled out in gold sparkles looks to be the work of a five-year-old, or an inebriated college student. It was nicer than I expected seeing the tree lit with presents underneath. The TV could not compare.

I'm hoping to hang on to this good feeling when it’s time to take the tree down. We’ve set a date, saved space in the attic and will keep our strength up with regular infusions of Oreo cookie bash.
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