The Christmas Tree Nazi

As I write this, I am huddled in my semi-warm winter coat, alternately shivering and rethinking my statement that the original windows in this house are so much more charming than new ones would be. Writing while shivering in a thin winter coat makes me feel like something out of a Dickens novel. Which makes me feel very literary. Or poor.

Either way, I get a warm inner glow every time I glance to my left and see the festive splendor of my own blazing Christmas tree. Yes – the lights are on, and will remain on whenever I am in close proximity to my tree. If need be, I’ll turn off every light and electrical appliance in the house to make up for this gluttonous attack on the earth’s waning resources. I’ll even turn down the already insufficient heat. I love my tree just that much.

As you may have guessed by now, I can decorate the hell out of a Christmas tree. It’s one of my great talents in life, and every year my home is graced by yet another Christmas tree triumph. This is one area in which I throw any sense of humility out the window. I’m can confidently claim that my Christmas tree kicks your Christmas tree’s ass.

You are probably thinking that my family is very lucky to have this kind of genius on their side. Well – I don’t know if they’d agree. You see the price that everyone pays for my mad Christmas tree decorating skillz is that they don’t get to have any fun with it. And that’s my Friday Confession this week. I am a Christmas Tree Nazi.

Brief disclaimer here: I am not in any way supporting or condoning the Nazi movement. My children are not joining the Reichs of Hitler Youth and I am not a racist psychopath with mommy issues. I’m basing the title “Christmas Tree Nazi” on the famous “Soup Nazi” character from Seinfeld. So on the almost impossible chance that you have never heard of this character and had no idea what I’m talking about – please be assured. I am not an actual Nazi.

That out of the way – I am a total bitch when it comes to my Christmas tree. I have definite ideas about where the ornaments should be placed and how the various colors and styles should be distributed. I like a symmetrical tree. A messy looking tree doesn’t bother me if it’s in someone else’s house (it in fact, just reaffirms my own superiority in the tree decorating realm). But the idea of a haphazard looking tree in my own home makes me die a little inside. The only way to achieve the level of perfection that I demand is to be very rigid and controlling, and even strategic about the tree decorating process. And believe me – I’ve got this covered.

I can currently get away with excluding my children based on their ages and lack of attention span. But I know that they will eventually want to participate. I just plan to cross that bridge when I come to it. And possibly buy a “kids’ tree” for them to do with as they like. Their father has fond memories of decorating his own kids’ tree with Star Wars action figures. So I expect he will be supportive my multiple tree plan. In fact, I’m sure he’ll be happy because he’s not currently allowed to help decorate our Christmas tree either. He may as well be one of the kids. The first year we had a tree together, I had to linger behind him rearranging his more bizarre ornament placement choices.

So the Hood family tree decorating tradition does not include the sound of laughter, storytelling and favorite Christmas carrols. There are no childish squeals of delight when someone finds the perfect spot for that favorite ornament (okay – maybe a few, but only if I’m really excited). And there is no closing ceremony of a tiny hand placing our angel at the top.

Instead there is about an hour of lights detail with meticulous care taken to make the tree appear to glow from within. Then there are about 20 minutes of bow placement. And finally, unlimited time is devoted to the actual ornaments.

My ornaments are packed away so carefully that the box would most likely survive a three thousand foot freefall from a cessna flying over rush hour traffic. Since they rarely break, I have finally accumulated enough to transition out the “filler” ornaments (plain gold balls from Michael’s) that I had to use for my first tree. I really do love my delicate antique ornaments and dread the day that they are pushed aside for the kids’ school project ones involving dry pasta or styrofoam.

But I also know that when that day does arrive, I will embrace it with the same pride and enthusiasm I apply to their current toddler achievements. Such as figuring out how to take off their pants and run around outside before I realize they’re gone. Just kidding – I really will be proud of those pre-school ornament projects. And after an appropriate amount of oohing and aahing, I will direct them to the kids’ tree where these masterpieces can be displayed to their best advantage.

Look – I know this sounds really obnoxious. But it IS a confession. So that should earn me at least a few good person points right? Being able to identify the problem and that being half the battle and all… But to give you a sense of where this Christmas tree decorating hubris is coming from (just a sense since no picture can truly do my creations justice), here is a picture I took yesterday:

And here is another one without the flash:

Photographer, I’m not – so like I said, these pictures don’t really capture the magic of this year’s Christmas tree. But they do capture the completely neurotic obsession with perfect symmetry which is at the heart of this psychopathic holiday behavior. And as far as holiday photography goes, capturing the true spirit of the Christmas Tree Nazi is half the battle.

27 thoughts on “The Christmas Tree Nazi

  1. Christy

    Kate this post was so funny! Poor Chris may just as well be one the kids – hysterical. And yes, your tree is perfect. Reminds me of when I gave you a huge christmas ornament (do I spy it – the giant snowman?) one year and you were like, oh my Christy, this is lovely, and so very big! hahaha! Love it! I love large sparkly ornaments so much. Can’t wait to break mine out tomorrow morning!!!

  2. AnastasiaSpeaks

    You are hilarious! Can we hire you to consult on our ornament arranging this weekend?

    I’m the opposite. I’m looking forward to my sons doing part of the work and my husband to do the light! :)

  3. Robin

    Oh, this is too funny! Hey, everyone has their Nazi thing… might as well embrace it, right?
    The tree is gorgeous! Enjoy it!

  4. Heidi

    Loved this confession!! Everyone has something that they just absolutely need to control. Everyone.

    This sentence, “But the idea of a haphazard looking tree in my own home makes me die a little inside.” made me laugh.

    Beautiful tree!

  5. Ominotigre

    White lights, Kate?
    You shame our house.

    I hope you got some of the old ornaments before the rats defecated on them.

  6. Connie Weiss

    Beautiful tree!

    My tree looks like shit. All ornaments start 4 1/2 feet off the ground and I don’t have anything on the top yet because I want a star and hubs wants an angel.

    I plan to let each child have their own tree in their rooms when they are older and I am going to have another tree in my kitchen with my special ornaments.

  7. Christy

    I have to admit, your tree is much better looking than mine. We go for the old-school look, with those big bulb lights and tacky ornaments from our childhood.

  8. chris

    POOR CHRIS INDEED! I had to go out in 21 degree weather the other night to pick the tree out! I can now see having Christmas tree issues with my daughter soon as well (shes 2). I think she may be as nuts as her mom. She picked out the tree but only after showing her about 100 trees.
    ME: Honey,do you like this tree?

    ME: This one?
    ME: Its cold out. What about this one?
    ME: This one?
    ME: Oh, heres a good one
    ME: Look at this one honey its great!
    ME: This one?
    ME: Oh thank God. I dont care if mom doesnt like it. lets get out of here.

  9. Anna See

    Great tree! I am the tree Nazi at our house. The kids have a full-sized kid’s tree upstairs to handle all of the Santa and action hero type ornaments that come our way. This year’s tree is not perfect– yet. I’ll have a sense of unease until it is! I actually pity other people’s trees, if you know what I mean.

  10. Jo

    Kate your tree is beautiful as usual. I wish we could see it in person as well as you, Chris and the munchkins. Chris, I love your story. That’s quite a remarkable tree selection for a 2 year old!

  11. OHmommy

    Beautiful tree… I love the white lights. THE only way to decorate a tree with class. Very nice job, momma.

    Cute confession!

  12. For Myself

    Great post! Enjoy that beautiful tree while you can, because in a few years, when your kids are older, no matter what the hell you do, your tree is going to look like doodie. So save the pictures, You’ll need them.

    Love the blog. I’ll be back!

  13. Vodka Mom

    omg that was such a great post! HA.

    And, of course, it’s the perfect tree. YOu might have to get your ass over here and fix mine…….

  14. Gale

    Your tree looks fabulous and you are absolutely justified to demand perfection, who says Christmas is just for the kids? Is it too much to ask when we run around like a crazy purchasing gifts and making sure our family has great food, treats, presents and ambiance? If demanding tree perfection is all we as mothers ask, they are all lucky!!

  15. Greta

    Lol! This year I let my daughters have free reign over the Christmas tree. My oldest put the entire thing together, strung the lights…all by herself. And then THEY put all the ornaments on! I must admit, they did a pretty smashing job! Looks better than years past when I’ve done it.

  16. butwhymommy

    Beautiful tree. I am not so bad when it comes to trees but they must have white lights and white lights only. That is my only rule.

    But I bet I’ll be checking the placement of the ornaments this year to see if they measure up to yours. Oh who am I kidding I’ll just throw them up like I always do.

  17. Stimey

    This is absolutely hilarious. And you have a beautiful tree.

    If you’re lucky, your kids will be like my kids. I tried to get them to help me decorate the tree, but no one wanted to. So I had to do it all by myself.

  18. anymommy

    It’s gorgeous. You’re a riot. I used to insist on all blue ornaments on my tree, but things have gone downhill since I started letting my pet monkeys help.

  19. BananaBlueberry

    your tree looks great!

    My little brother always had his own tree in his room, decorated with snoopy stuff :)

    Merry Christmas… we still haven’t decorated…
    not until friday morning- the morning after my son’s birthday :)

  20. Sandi McBride

    And I grew up under the roof of your Fuhrer…
    Great post…
    congrats on Post of the Day…I’m here from David’s


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