Monday, November 30, 2009

Oh, Christmas Tree

The title of this post needs to be said with some exasperation, the way my aunt Minnie used to say, 'Oh, Jackie' when she just didn't know what to think about something I had just said or done.

That's because this was the state of our pre-lit Christmas tree when it came out of the box on Saturday for it's fourth season.

Pretty, isn't it? I wish the picture had come out better. But if you look hard, you'll notice that only about a sixth of the tree is actually lit up. Thankfully, I anticipated having to light it up myself - again - this year, it's final year. We figure at this point, it doesn't owe us anything, since we bought it on clearance after Christmas when we decided to go artificial several years ago.

Doesn't that sound like we went 'green' for Christmas? Well, after spending too many holiday seasons feeling sick from allergies, I thought it might be the tree. One year, when we dragged out our live tree and I felt better within 24 hours, I figured I was on to something. So, we do the fake thing now, and, truthfully, I don't miss the mess of needles. I miss the smell of the tree, but I can buy that in a box.

In buying the artificial, I even made a big change, going from the colored lights to white lights. When we went to the store to buy the tree, the colors of the colored lights were so vibrant and obnoxious. To me, anyway. I had grown up with these lovely, faded kind of colored lights. I even still had boxes of them that I had collected during the after-Christmas sales for years. I was always ready with a new strand when one or two of the old ones were bound and determined not to light each year. (I still can't figure out how that happens. They were working when they came off the tree, got wrapped up and put into the box. Then, they come out the next year and are dead.) So, we skipped the bright, nearly fluorescent colored lit trees and went for white.

Our first Christmas with the tree was very cool. I was so tickled to pull four parts out of a box, snap the posts together, spread the branches and plug it in. Beautiful. The white lights really highlighted all the ornaments.

The next year was a little touchy. The first time everything got plugged in, one section didn't light. A little jiggling took care of that. Then, last year, things got ugly. About 1/3 of the tree didn't light. I was livid. I ended up running lights all over the tree - colored lights, mind you, because that's all I've ever owned. After I calmed down, I got to the point where I could find amusement in the tree and it's crazy lighting.

This year, we knew what we were up against before the tree even came down from the attic. Zelda and I ran out to the store Saturday morning while Ron and Annalee put the tree together. I came home, walked into the living room and just laughed. Then, I turned around, went into the garage and found the Christmas box labeled 'Lights.' And, I got to it. Wouldn't you know it? Three strands from last year didn't work this year. Go figure.

The girls and I also put all the ornaments on. Well, truthfully, we started to do the ornaments, went to take a break for lunch and got distracted when Zelda bit Annalee in the waist, so then we stopped. I ended up finishing the tree in the afternoon when Zelda was napping and Annalee was at a birthday party. I was so at peace.

Here is where it ended up:

I love it. I even put all our new Chinese zodiac ornaments on the tree. Each one of the 12 has long red tassles.I'm still working on taking a picture that really shows the lights in all their glory.

So, now, when I walk through the living room, I say, 'oh, Christmas tree!' with a bit of excitement - and a little pat on my back - and I feel a sense of admiration, joy and wonder. Perfect for the season.

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