Thursday, November 30, 2006

Behold! The Lengths I Will Go To Create Warm Holiday Memories!

I admit that I tend to go a bit overboard during the holidays. I spend too much money, bake too many treats, deck too many halls and generally spread myself too thin. I know this about myself and yet I am powerless to change. I am a victim of a little known disorder called Santa-itis.

It's hereditary; I blame my mother.

Just how overboard do I go? Lord, that would take days to explain..

Let us begin with the tree…When Hugh and I were first married, I was adamant that we have a freshly cut tree. Having grown up with a sister whose mold allergy prevented us from ever having had a live tree, I felt completely gypped of the whole tree-cutting experience which, in my fertile imaginings went something like….

…The happy couple loads up the station wagon and drives to the pristine forest as Christmas carols play softly on the radio. Once arrived, they begin the search for the perfect tree, not too big, certainly not too small and with just the right amount of fullness to neatly fill the space in the living room, next to the fireplace on which mantel the stockings will be hung. Upon finding the perfect tree, the happy wife gazes on approvingly as her handsome husband fells the tree with one solid swing of the axe, hefts the tree over his well muscled shoulder and carries it back to the car. With the tree attached securely to the station wagon’s roof, the lovely wife twists the top off the red plaid thermos of hot cocoa that she has lovingly prepared. The happy couple gazes adoringly at one another while sipping the cocoa amid the pristine forest, the scent of pine flirting with their nostrils….

…..Fantasy? I’d like to introduce you to Reality.

Our first Christmas, Hugh and I picked up our tree at a temporary tree lot in the parking lot of our local supermarket so, no pristine forest for us. And, while the tree was certainly the right size, it wasn’t exactly fresh, having seen many a day since the blow of the axe. In fact, the volume of pine needles left in our wake as we dragged the tree to Hugh’s truck rivaled the needles that remained on the tree by the time we got it home (although, there were certainly enough left to shed throughout the holiday season, requiring daily vacuuming; what fun!). Also, the non-freshness factor stoked my inherent paranoia; I spent the remainder of the holiday season fearing that the tree would spontaneously burst into flame under the massive weight of lights with which I had decked it. Good times. And, I digress.

Needless to say, while that was the last year that we had a fresh tree, it was the first year of my decorating mania.

These days, a 71/2 foot pre-lit Douglass fir graces our living room; on occasion, Hugh and I will gaze adoringly at one another while sipping hot cocoa and admiring our tree so, the fantasy didn’t die.

You know, completely.

We put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving and there it will stay until January 2. It takes approximately three hours to decorate the tree, including the various paraphernalia that we have to accompany it.

The ornaments gracing the tree have been collected throughout the thirteen years of our marriage and are reminders of the time that we have shared. Each one is special and, to us, priceless. Descriptions of my favorites would fill an entire entry but, I won’t bore you with that. Or, maybe, I will…mwaa, ha, ha, ha….

Where was I?

Our tree topper is a traditional star. The children take turns each year, placing the star on top of the tree and, amazingly, they never fight over whose turn it is. It is our very own version of the Christmas miracle.

Underneath the tree is a tartan plaid tree skirt featuring three cross-stitched panels. The first panel depicts a father and his son, trudging home through the snow with a freshly-cut Christmas tree (in an era pre-vacuum cleaner! Gasp! Whatever will the lady of the house do?!). The second panel shows a joyful family dashing through the snow in a horse-drawn sleigh. The third panel reads Merry Christmas, a happy phrase surrounded by holly leaves and berries. I stitched the panels myself, long before I met Hugh and I haven't cross-stitched since. I'm not sure why.

Circling the tree skirt is a toy train. Hugh bought it for my birthday the year we began dating and it is as special to me as any of the ornaments on the tree.

Thus ends the description…of our indoor tree!

We also have an outdoor tree. While it is smaller in stature than the indoor tree, it is equally well decorated and massively lit because, yeah, see above: the topic of this post.
Having two trees is nothing compared to my younger sister who, suffering from an even worse case of Santa-itis, has a tree in every room of her house. Ok, not every room but, only because she couldn’t think of an acceptable theme for a bathroom tree.

I kid because I'm jealous, obviously.

In addition to the trees, we also put up a holiday village, numerous garlands, wreaths, candles, lights and other sundry decorations; all thanks to my disease.

Speaking of, my Santa-itis rears its ugly head most viciously in the kitchen; tune in next time when I regal you with tales of gingerbread men and drop-sugar cookies.

You know, if I haven’t lost you, already.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's really all I can say. How do you have the time to breathe?