November 29 and I am putting up my Christmas tree. I am not excited about what I know will be a struggle, though I am pleased with myself it’s still November.
Sometime during the year, my faux tree spawned. I am certain I had only one tree, yet now there are two with their little alphabetically labeled parts all mixed together. The parts look the same and almost fit together, but it’s virtually impossible to put together any single tree.
Why not use a fresh tree instead? I grew up with fresh trees. They’re dirty and have insects, and I fear it will burst into flames. And, if I use my absolutely unnatural tree for 437 years, I will give the environment a net gain. I am feeling very smug and “green” about that much as I take a break and sit at my kitchen table munching edamame, which is a very healthy new food that looks remarkably like the soy beans we grew on the farm to feed the cows. If we had sold those soy beans at 1/10 the price I am now paying for them, we would be very, very rich dirt farmers. Who knew people could eat that stuff?
My children think that the use of duct tape, tomato stakes, wine corks, and bungee cords are all a normal part of putting up the tree. This year, I am using color coordinated, festive bungees to add to the holiday spirit. The kids also think that minor injuries sustained while putting up the tree are part of the experience. This year, I believe I have found the perfect balance of bungees and wine corks around the tree base to keep it stable. It’s early yet, and I have time to add to the cork stability system if it weren’t for those pesky screw top bottles.
As we build, guessing at what pieces might work together, my youngest is giving me the, “It’s the beauty of the season, of Christ’s love, it’s not about the tree, Mom” speech. While I love the little bugger for his effort, I am frustrated by visions of my first guest who notices: a) the bungees holding the tree to the stand, and b) the tree is not only fake, but it’s two different colors. My son wisely suggests that he do his homework at the kitchen table for a bit. This is code for “You’re frustrated and I’m heading for the woods.”
I stuff in random excess tree pieces until I get the desired effect: no bungees showing, no wine corks showing, no unnatural center metal/plastic pole showing. Ready for lights. I have three Band-Aids on me already. My helper-son is doing better. The other two kids are, well, either smarter than the two of us, or less willing to risk bodily harm ─ they deserted us long ago.
Lights are on. It’s looking pretty good. I insert more excess spawn limbs. I end up with almost half a tree left over and, shockingly, one fabulous looking tree.
Then I think… did I actually PLAN this? Did I have the foresight last year to buy another tree at 50% off? DID I PLAN AHEAD? Was my forgotten thoughtfulness responsible for an ordeal less desperate this year? Did it save the life of pine tree in my yard? (Last year one got denuded so I could fill in the holes within the tree.)
This is for me a strong argument for planning in wrap up and not in crisis. It’s a lesson about looking forward with today’s experience and doing something about events yet unhappened. Or, it could just mean shopping for discounts after the holiday season is sure to bring peace and good will among men.
Happy holidays everyone!