Adventures in Tree Decorating

Yesterday was tree-decorating day in my house. Over the past few years, we’ve put it off until late in the month so we can accommodate various kids’ schedules, because hubby likes to have them all home for the event (I think he’s still in denial over the whole grown-up-and-moved-out thing 😉 ). This year was no different. We all agreed on December 20th, hubby was happy, and then, slowly, things began to unravel. Not by much, but enough that I should have seen the “fun” coming.

First, one of our daughters remembered that she and her father had a date for that evening: her birthday gift to him in November was an evening out to see the new Star Wars movie. Changing the decorating time wasn’t an option, because she and her boyfriend had plans earlier in the day and couldn’t make it on Saturday, either. Sadly, hubby’s prized tree-decorating tradition had met with its demise…but hey, Star Wars seemed pretty fair as far as consolation went.

The tree still needed to happen, so we decided we’d go ahead with our Sunday plan, which meant buying the tree on Saturday after we finished all our other errands…which, of course, we totally forgot to do. Instead, we got home about 4:00 after an insane day of running around (I went to a MALL on the last weekend before Christmas…what was I thinking?!?  😯 ), and I donned my pajamas, poured a glass of wine, and started putting away the groceries…and then hubby remembered the tree. And insisted we go buy it. And refused to go by himself.

So I changed back into real clothes, negotiated for take-out dinner as part of the deal, and we went tree shopping. It was actually a lot of fun, which might explain why I overlooked “forgetting” to buy it as a second hurdle placed in our way by the universe. A small hurdle, to be sure, but still there.

Which brings us to actual tree-decorating day.

Actual installation of the tree in the living room went fairly well. Hubby and I had our usual disagreements over how the lights should go on. So far, so normal. Daughter #1 and her fiance arrived in the middle of the lighting argument, around the same time we realized we didn’t have enough lights. We’d bought new ones last year…for a much smaller tree, it seems. Oops. Hubby and daughter’s fiance headed off to the store for more. They returned empty-handed an hour later, having visited three stores without luck. Fiance had texted ahead, so daughter and I had already rearranged the lights to fit the entire tree…sparsely, but (we hoped) adequately.

Ribbon was next, and yup, you guessed it. We didn’t have enough of that, either. Daughter #1 and I headed off to the store. We had more success than the guys did, and returned home twenty minutes later with a ribbon that didn’t match the other, but by this point, it was close enough, dammit.  😡

Then it was on to the actual ornaments, with much laughter and sharing of memories as they went onto the tree. The little tin icicles went on last, and then we were able to stand back to admire our handiwork…and it was beautiful. Just as a Christmas tree should be.

By this time, it was 5:00 p.m., and hubby was due to head off to his movie date with daughter #2. The last thing remaining was to push the tree back into its corner, and–

And the stand had sprung a leak. All four gallons of water from the reservoir plus an additional gallon from a side refill tank were gone, mostly soaked up by a fancy moisture-absorbing pad hubby had put underneath it (think disposable diaper for Christmas trees), which had done its job so well that we hadn’t noticed the water. A flurry of activity ensued. Towels were fetched, and the entire, fully decorated tree–stand and all–was lifted (it took three of us) so that the pad could be taken away and the hardwood floor beneath mopped up (though not before it suffered damage). Ten minutes later, hubby raced off to his date, daughter #1 and her fiance departed, and I was left to clean up the piles of water-absorbing gel and masses of spruce needles scattered across the floor.

We usually leave our tree up until after the New Year, but it will have to come down early this year, of course. We discussed the possibility of removing the decorations, getting a new stand, and–ha. Who am I kidding? The thought barely crossed our minds before we dismissed it. After what we went through to get that thing up and decorated the first time? No way were we undertaking a second round! 😉 We’ll just keep a close eye on its state of dryness, and I expect it will be out the door on Boxing Day or close to it.

In the meantime, it’s here, it’s done, and it’s gorgeous. Merry Christmas, everyone! 😉




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