Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

My mom and I went to pick up her Christmas tree on Sunday. It seems like every year we end up in circumstances reminiscent of a Clark Griswold adventure, complete with maniacal gleam in our eyes, though while the rest of Clark’s family suffered along in varying degrees of tolerance, no one in my family is immune. It’s all fun and games until someone shoots their eye out.

Of course (touch wood) that hasn’t happened to any of us yet, though I did have a near miss when trying to get this year’s tree into the stand. The trunk is too thin and those screws in the bottom didn’t reach. I’m also still trying to get sap residue off my clothes and out of my hair.

This is by far, not the worst of our Christmas tree adventures. There was the year in which the tree was mysteriously top heavy and kept falling over no matter how many times or ways my father tried to adjust it, so finally, he settled for drilling screws through the stand into our hardwood floor. My mother recounts this tale with amusement now, but back then, she wasn’t quite so happy about it.

Our old house had the living room on the second floor, and usually, post-Christmas, the trees simply got thrown over the balcony rather than hauled downstairs and leaving a trail of fir needles throughout the house. Except, for whatever reason, one year my mom and I decided to simply shove the tree out the window. It went fantastically for the first half—and then we realized our mistake. A word of advice: never try to shove a tree out a window point first. The branches at the bottom fold down and get wider. And it’s harder than you think to pull it back in once the branches have folded around the frame.

My favorite memory is of the year that my sister, mother, and I went to get the tree in my mom’s tiny car. We figured the tree would simply fit in the trunk and then we’d tie the trunk lid off so it wouldn’t flap around. Only, that wouldn’t work (I don’t remember why). Did I mention my father’s insistence on all of us having matching parkas? Oh yes. We all wore them, too. They were in primary blocks of color; red, blue, yellow. So there we were, color-coordinated, pushing and pulling a tree into our car. It was a sight to behold.

We tried, this year, to anchor the tree in with rocks in the stand, to no avail. My sister, rather than get up to any shenanigans this year, went to the store and bought a different tree stand, which worked more effectively. And then, because it was late and a school night for my niece and nephew, we attacked that tree in a flurry of lights, candy canes, and ornaments, getting it decorated in less than fifteen minutes. I’ve heard of speed dating, but not speed decorating.

Not our most adventurous year, but our tree, in all of its sparkling, weighted-down glory, would make Clark (and probably Charlie Brown) proud.

Besides, the adventures aren’t over. Eventually, we’ll have to take it down.

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