We did it again. I blame it on the cold. And Home Depot. In California, there was a Christmas tree farm across the freeway from Magic Mountain, just a few minutes from our house. They set up all the trees in rows and labeled them as to type and passed out candy canes to the children. I've seen a handful of Christmas tree lots around Nashville, but none anywhere near us, so we are left with Home Depot.
Home Depot throws all their trees in piles and Greg has to bring his own knife so we can cut the twine and unfold the tree to see if it's suitable. Basically, you can't open up a tree that's been tied up for days and hold it up in 3 square feet of space and try to determine if it's lopsided while your kids are running around with 5 other kids you don't know and yelling, "Mom, look at me!" from the top of a precarious stack of trees. Plus it's really cold.
Last Thursday it was really, really, really cold when we opened up our second tree and said, "It seems a little bigger than it's labeled, but the shape is fine. We'll take it!" And the kids and I went to sit in the car while Greg and the part-time holiday Home Depot worker put the tree on the roof of the van.
Have you seen Christmas Vacation? Where Clark Griswold opens up his tree and it's so huge the branches bust out the windows of the house? This tree is not that bad, but it's close. It took 3 of us to get it in the house and set it up. We thought we were buying a 9 foot tree. We measured this one at nearly 12 feet.
After that, I was so intimidated by its size that it sat there for several days just being imposing and daring me to come at it with a string of lights. Predictably, I ran out of lights three feet from the top and had to buy more. Jack refused to go to the store with me because, he maintained, we made a mistake by getting such a huge tree and we would never need those extra lights again, so why buy them? We should just leave that part unlit and explain to people who come over that we accidentally bought a huge tree because it was mislabeled. So practical, that one.
I admit that after this tree was set up, I spent an hour or so looking at pre-lit artificial trees online. They definitely have their appeal. But I love having a real tree. Each tree has it's own personality and it's own story. There's the one we got for a discount because it had a huge gap in one side, the one with our ornament breaking record,the one where we broke the tree stand, and the one where I cut the lights with the pruning shears. I'm always disappointed when we first get them home and then they eventually transform into something magical. That's what Christmas does for things. It makes them magical.
Our tree is on it's sparsely decorated* way to being magical. Greg is already thrilled because he thinks this tree will go down as "the one that made Shelley decide to get smaller trees." As for me, the more I look at this tree, the more I think it's not all that huge. It's working out just fine.
As long as someone doesn't turn on the ceiling fan.
*I bought lights, but I refuse to buy more ornaments, too.