Monday, November 30, 2015

'Tis The Season...

Over the long weekend, we continued a tradition begun some fifteen years prior, decorating the house:


I try to keep it somewhat tasteful, no Clark Griswold "planes-trying-to-land-it's-so-bright" 20,000 lights or anything, but enough to be festive. Believe it or not, everything - electrical cords included - fits in one box. Yes, I'm *that* guy - I have boxes (all labeled, of course) for all the decorating holidays. Thanksgiving, Easter, Halloween; they all have a box in the garage. Christmas has, well, many boxes...

That leads me to one of the things I really like about this house - the previous occupant built some serious shelves in the garage. I'm talking 2X4 construction with 3/4-inch plywood. You could park a small car on these shelves. The top level gets filled with Christmas boxes, so that every year it's a simple matter of grabbing the ladder, dropping the boxes down, and running them into the house. In the old house, we had everything in a section of the (very crowded) basement, so that getting the decorations involved moving a whole bunch of boxes and then carrying things up a rickety set of stairs...

I told you all that so I could show you this:


I posted this picture on Facebook yesterday. It got a bunch of light-hearted comments to the effect of "is there a tree under there?" and, well, I guess that's what happens after 20 Christmases together. We started out in a tiny apartment with a 3-foot tree from WalMart, which lasted us some four years until we moved into the house. At that point, I had a pickup truck and we had both spare time and money, so for our first Christmas together in the new house, we got a real tree.

But not just any real tree, mind you. This was a "cut your own" tree deal, but not just any cut your own. You see, the nursery where we got the tree has an event mid-October where you come in and tag your Christmas tree. You search the rows and rows of trees until you find the perfect one, then tag it for retrieval later. Over Thanksgiving weekend you show up and cut it down, transport it home and then keep it on life support until Christmas.

Seriously, I think (formerly) live trees go through 5 - 10 gallons of water a day. We had a huge plastic base that held about a gallon of water, and wound up filling it numerous times a day. For four weeks. And I think it actually shed more needles than it possessed. It was bringing them in from alternate dimensions using an old "Star Trek" transporter gag...

Our daughter's first Christmas was the last time we had a real tree. Juggling two small kids, an SUV rather than a pickup, and a dwindling amount of time and excess money, we opted for the convenience of a fake tree. Oh, sure, it doesn't have the panache of a real tree, but you know what else it doesn't have? Sap. Or bugs. Or the potential to turn into a blazing inferno if exposed to the slightest spark. We went plastic and never looked back.

And looking at our tree now? I'm glad we did. The accumulated ornaments of 15 Christmases with kids more than cover the tree - we have a 4-foot tree in the formal living room facing the street that has our "overflow" ornaments on it (and it's jam-packed, too). While it might not smell like a real tree (the Mrs. grabbed one of those plug-in air fresheners to combat that), it also takes literally minutes to retrieve from storage and set up, as compared to hours for a real tree. Once up it requires exactly zero maintenance. And cost wise? $100 one time that we've gotten 12 years out of at this point compared to $35 a year. No brainer.

At some point down the road, once the kids have gone off to college, we might look into a real tree again. Especially here in VA, where it can often be in the 60s in late November when it comes time to get the tree, unlike up in MA where it can frequently be in the 20s. Then again, we might just keep the fake tree and enjoy the extra time and money...

Whether you do fake tree, real tree, or no tree, have a great holiday season everyone!

That is all.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

My wife scored a nice vintage aluminum tree a couple of years ago in a thrift store. Loves it. To each his (or her) own, I guess.

ProudHillbilly said...

Pretty!

I gave up on the real tree after my daughter was out of the house and I didn't have anyone to help me get it in the stand and level it. Discovered real quick that I really like the fact that the lights are incorporated. As opposed to sorting out strands that spend the year tangling themselves. And I don't have to worry about cats drinking toxic water.

The Neon Madman said...

A couple of years ago my wife scored a vintage aluminum tree at a local thrift store. Loves it. To each his (or her) own, I guess.

Old NFO said...

Great tradition, and I wuz wondering...LOL