Annual Christmas Tree Report (Alternatively Titled: The Grinch’s Small Tree Grew Three Sizes That Day)

Every year I write about my Christmas tree.

I know – other people write touching annual posts in honor of their children on their birthdays. But not me. I write annual taunts about how my Christmas tree kicks your Christmas tree’s ass.

Because tree decorating is my thing.

I won’t re-write my Christmas Tree Nazi post, but if you didn’t read that and don’t feel so inclined as to link over – just understand that I take my tree very seriously. Maybe a little too seriously. Okay – maybe A LOT too seriously. But you know how it is when someone has a problem: they need to want to get better before you can help them. And I have no interest in getting better. All I want is a perfect tree.

Last year was the first time that my kids really expressed a desire to participate in tree decorating. So being the good mother that I am, I put aside my perfectionist attitude…and bought them their very own fake tree from Target. I even let them believe that theirs was much better than mine (as if!)

This year though, I made the mistake of pulling out their tree a week before we bought the “real” one. So they thought they were on round two when the new one came in the door.

In their defense, Chris’ tradition of taking one of them with him to pick out the tree would definitely cloud the whole “ownership” issue. Luckily, they have very short attention spans, and after 10 minutes of watching me hang the lights, everyone got bored and wandered off to watch TV or sled down the stairs in pillow cases. A good move on their part. This year’s light hanging wasn’t pretty. Because our tree? Is HUGE. At least for us, it is.

We live in a tiny townhouse, and typically get a six foot tree. But this year, Chris took Oliver who imprinted on this particular one the minute he saw it. No other tree would do. It was a tree soul mate thing and Chris couldn’t keep them apart. So this year I had two more feet of tree to decorate.

Doesn’t sound like a lot, but that was one beast of a tree trimming project. I swear it kept getting bigger as I circled around it, lacing lights in the branches. Then several strands blew out and I had to search for connections to remove them. And full of joyous holiday spirit, I alternated between internally swearing like a sailor and glaring at an infuriatingly jocular Chris, who was puttering around the kitchen, singing along to Santa Baby.

And of course, the minute I decided that the lights looked as good as they were going to get, the children sensed my hand moving toward the ornament box and came at me like a pack of Christmas-obsessed velociraptors.

I was able to fend them off with some candy canes, but it was a near thing. It seemed prudent to wait until they were in bed before I continued.

This is what I generally do anyway. So I finished the tree later, listening to holiday CDs and sipping wine with Chris. For a second he forgot that he had met me before and tried to hang some ornaments, but I put an end to that. I mean – filler ornaments like that random ceramic chili pepper on the front of the tree?! Do you see what I’m dealing with here?

But when all was said and done, I was able to stand back and look at this:

I think it’s our prettiest tree yet. Admittedly, this larger size could do with a bit more bling than just lights and ornaments… Insert Joan Cusack’s Queens accent for one of her best Working Girl quotes: “It needs some bows ah’ somethin’.” Next time, there will have to be some sort of a garland.

One of these days, I’ll have to get over the “my tree” thing and let them (gulp) help. Then, perhaps schizophrenic ornament placement and ineffectual bow tying will be balanced out by joyful faces and holiday cheer…and a Valium. And an extra bottle of wine. That should do it.

11 thoughts on “Annual Christmas Tree Report (Alternatively Titled: The Grinch’s Small Tree Grew Three Sizes That Day)

  1. ella

    Although I don’t share your obsession for tree perfection, that is one fine lookin’ Christmas tree. Does your family mess with you by rearranging ornaments when you’re not looking? (feel free to delete that last sentence if you don’t want them getting any ideas!)

  2. Issa

    My girls are pretty helpful at this point. But when they were younger, I used to let them put things wherever and then at night, I’d re-arrange it. :)

    Your tree is beautiful Kate.

  3. Robin from Israel

    That is one gorgeous tree! Obviously we don’t have one, being Jewish, but when I was a child (in NY, not Israel) we’d always share holidays with our across the street neighbors. We’d help them trim their tree and drink eggnog (which I must admit I never developed a tasted for) and they’d come over one night of Hannukah to help light candles and eat latkes. It’s one of my favorite memories of childhood.

    My photography is available for purchase – visit Around the Island Photography on etsy and Society6 and bring home something beautiful today!

  4. Leslie

    I am tree obsessed too! I tell the boys that the ornaments are Mommy’s toys and I really just want to decorate the tree by myself. I’m always afraid they’re going to break one. And, I completely understand the filler ornament strategy because I put the less desirables in the back. Plus, I also HAVE to keep the series and themed ornaments together on the tree, of course. One day we can be each others sponsors when we decide to get help in tree rehab. You’re tree looks beautiful because of all your hard work.
    Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

  5. cindi rose

    I so used to be the same way about my tree. Obsessing for days and hours over the right tree, the right placement of each ornament. Then I got a divorce, lost half the ornaments, remarried and moved from a four bedroom house into a two bedroom town house. Not much obsessing over the tree anymore. But sometimes….

  6. Jen

    I let the kids help and then I fix the tree after they go to bed. I don’t know if that’s better or worse than just not letting them help.


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