A Thousand Points of Light

And though in tinsel chain and popcorn rope
My tree, a captive in your window bay,
Has lost its footing on my mountain slope
And lost the stars of heaven, may, oh, may
The symbol star it lifts against your ceiling
Help me accept its fate with Christmas feeling. (robert frost)

There’s only one thing I can think of that is more embarrassing to put on your blog than naked pictures of yourself (never would!)- and that’s the confession that you’ve gone over to the dark side in the Christmas tree wars.

All I can say is it’s a good thing my father isn’t around to see what came out of that 7.5 foot box in the library. The one that said Made in China.

57 live Christmas trees (three years there were tree disasters that required the purchase of a second tree), almost all cut down in the forest or on the farm, a few bought off lots. This marks the end, at least temporarily, of an era. A way of life. Schlepping through the cold with runny noses, much whining and obsessing about which tree- that pricey but sturdy Fraser Fir? This soft and gentle White Pine? Is that tree tall enough? Almost always, we grossly underestimated the height- they grew on the roof of the car!

So, why change this year? This year the logistics of life and time have caught up with me. We’re coming up one weekend short so with three weekends left? This one coming is way too soon to put up a fresh tree. The next we go to The Bud and Jan Show and the next- and last before Christmas- we have the Black Tie and Pajama BCMA (all together now: Book Club, My Ass!) Annual Christmas and Poker Party.Soph_1

Then the Snarl is home and Christmas is here. We will go to church and have our traditional Lobster Bisque on Christmas Eve and we’ll dig through stockings, eat Egg Dump and watch the cats go berserk Christmas Morn. And then, oddly enough, we will get on a plane Christmas Night to head south to the Land of the 3-dimensional Polar Bear for 10 days of rest and relaxation.

I just don’t see a window of opportunity to freeze, stomp, cut,  curse, drag, tip, tilt and pull the cats out of the real deal, do you? And those lights! No one will EVER help with the lights. And I curse the Japanese when I put up lights. Curse them, I say! And then, who would take the tree down? Why, McCloud and Sophie! Left to their own devices, the cats would water it in a fit of pique because we’ve left them again. They would knock off 90 year old hand blown German glass ornaments. Finally, in our absence, they would bring it down.

Today Rich and I raced out in one hour and cruised Home Depot, Lowe’s and Sam’s Club. With no one else in the stores at 11am we made short work of it and headed back to Home Depot where we had spied our favorite. Our first choice in fake trees.

In a few days, when all is said and done, I’ll let you be the judge. Last year versus this year. In the meantime, which way do you lean? The fresh, clean scent of pine and sap and all the work that goes along with it? Or 2164 bottle brush green tips that look surprisingly real. And a thousand points of pre-installed light.


18 responses to “A Thousand Points of Light

  1. I too have visited that dark side. It was fine.

  2. I love the fresh clean scent of pine and sap, probably because I’m from the Pacific Northwest and I don’t get to live there anymore. But we’ve done a lot of variations on the Christmas tree over the years, due to time or space constraints or poverty or some combination of all three. We bought some pine-green fake garlandy-stuff one year, and because there was no space on the floor, we wrapped it around the curtain rod over the living-room window and hung ornaments from that. The next year we wrapped it around a floor-lamp, and that was our tree. Last year we had travel plans that left no time to buy a tree, so we decorated a potted palm. My husband says we’re going to do that every year from now on. I can’t tell if he’s kidding or not.

  3. In Oklahoma we did both. A realistic fake in the room and real one in the planter. In Mississippi most years we had the fake but you had to put on the lights which totally defeats the purpose. Also we had a couple from the farm there. Here we have one with the pre-installed lights. This is the second year for it so we’ll see how it held up. Our cats don’t climb them but they do like to bat the ornaments. (I see that yours, I think that is Sophie, is already eyeing the pretty red one.) We always put the plastic ones on the bottom. Willow steals them and takes them to her own special corner. It has been hard to get in the decorating spirit with 70 degree temps outside.

    Your “dark side” will be great. And just think, no needles to vacuum.

  4. We cut a cedar off the property. Usually we walk off our Thanksgiving dinner trying to find the perfect one and tie a ribbon around it as a marker. We can only have it up about 10 days or so since we have wood heat and the tree will dry out pretty fast. As much as I like my Christmas decorations, I don’t really like to have them out very long because its too much to dust and the cats, well, they paw everything new till it falls off wherever it was sitting or hanging.

    What I really want is one of those vintage, aluminum trees from the 50’s with the color wheel.

  5. We’re in Western North Carolina, and our major industry is Fraser firs. So, we always go out to a friend’s Xmas tree farm (three generations in his family) and let the kids choose a tree, which he chainsaws down and ties on the top of the mini-van. And yes, my cats adore having a live tree in the house. As do I. But, if I were traveling as much as you are, I might dispense entirely with the tree.

  6. What you got in the picture is plenty of greenery. Who needs more than that? Who said a philodendron, or a cactus, can’t be a Christmas tree? I won’t have a tree this year, again, because this is the time of year I haul out my neck-rest pillow that says, “Bah, humbug” on it. During the 1970’s energy crisis, Oregon Gov. McCall ordered everybody to turn out their neon lights and every other damned light. We didn’t have Christmas lights that year, and never missed ’em. Go kill some mistletoe. It’s just a damn oak tree disease, anyway. Never be missed.

    On the audio blog, you’re right, I can’t understand the words, but I can hear the music, and it’s just dandy. Reminds me that my daughter’s church choir recently returned from Italy, where they sang in St. Peter’s. This local church was the national choir on CBS at midnight Christmas Eve two years ago. Wish I knew how to do an audioblog, and I would play an Italy song for you…

  7. I have to go with the pine sap and high price of the real Fraser fir, but my schedule won’t take me away as much as yours does. Our Florida pines are not very “Christmassy” so we buy imported NC trees from a lot. I wince at the price and then justify it with, “Well, it’s just once a year…”

  8. We went the fake route about 5 years ago; having grown tired of paying the asking price for Fraser Firs (our tree of choice), for which we had to mortgage the farm (so to speak). I first had a giant of a tree which took me about 8 hours to wrap with lights. Next came a “pencil tree”, pre-lit, which only takes up about 3 feet of floor space, but is 7 feet tall. When the lights go out on that one, I will buy another. Never again will I wrap the lights on my home tree – as long as I have to do it on so many others before the holidays!

  9. Naturally, I have an opinion. I love the scent of fresh pine and think that fake trees are hideous. But we have put a fake tree up for the past 2 or 3 years. I am extremely paranoid (surprise!) about fire, and a few years ago a set of lights on our real tree shorted out and burst into flames. The fact that I was actually standing right there was probably the only thing between us and one of those horrible Christmas morning tragedy stories that the news is so fond of. (“World-famous blogger and her family die tragically in holiday inferno”) So I decided it was time to switch to a fake tree.

  10. Considering I’m trying to figure out where the hell I’m going to put a tree this year in the ever-shrinking apartment, I’ll go with a small table-top fake tree with prearranged lights. Thankfully, my parents live close by and the kiddos will have the run of my mom’s ChristmasLand.

  11. I would do a fake tree, but my husband won’t hear of it. NEVER, he says as he hauls in a sappy tree, dropping needles all over the house. We will probably put ours up this weekend or next.

  12. Well, now you’ve done it. Once you got pre-lit, you never, never go back. I luuurrvve mine.

    Alright, I’ll bite, (or not, as the case may be)pray tell, what in the hell is ‘Egg Dump’?

  13. Rhett: For Sophie

    Rhett is in love with Sophie. Here he sends her a classic love poem…

  14. Rhett: For Sophie

    Rhett is in love with Sophie. Here he sends her a classic love poem…

  15. Friday Ark #63

    We’ll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and….? We will add you…

  16. I think real trees are a bleeping fire hazard. It amazes me how many people don’t bother to keep one smoke detector for each person and animal in the house. Sheesh!

  17. Mogjam #1

    Since winter will be setting in soon, its time for some canning, jam yum. Presenting Mogjam. Er, kitty style.

    Hey, were not moggies, were pedigreed.
    By Krissie on 12.03.05 12:01:42

    Who asked you, fatty.
    By Meowza on 12.0…

  18. Friday Ark #64

    We’ll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and….? We will add you…

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