Nana's Knitting Shop

Knitting tales of a lifelong knitter
and yarn shop owner.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Christmas Tree Curse

I've always tried to have a positive attitude about having a Christmas tree, despite many, many setbacks. After reading this, I hope you'll take pity on me and bring me a knitted or crocheted ornament for the Shop tree. To entice you, I'm throwing a party on Sunday, December 9 where your contribution will be rewarded with 15% off your total purchase for the day! Join me on December 9 from 12:00-5:00. It will be fun!

Though we had one every single year, Cory never liked decorating the Christmas tree and I inevitably decorated it all by myself. Decorated it all by myself even though I got the tree for Cory in the first place.

To try and lure her into the spirit of the tree, I decided we'd cut our own one year. She was about 13. I trudged her out into the middle of a tree farm, in the snow, carefully checking every tree for the perfect shape and size.

At long last, after many tsks, sighs and "can we go now" from my eternally bored daughter, I picked the tree. It wasn't a very big tree - maybe 4 feet or so, but perfectly shaped. I found the guy with the saw and he graciously, but shabbily, cut it down for me. I dragged it back to the car and took it home. Cory, my darling Cory, rolled her eyes at me the whole way.

Now I don't know about you, but for me, installing the damn thing in the tree stand is the worst part of the whole job. Way back then, tree stand choices were limited. They were small, medium and large and all of them had those screws that you screwed into the trunk. And, it took at least two people to install the tree into the stand.

As most 13 year olds do, Cory had some serious phoning to do since we had been gone several hours hunting down the perfect tree. After all, doesn't everyone have to talk to their friends every 10 minutes whether they have anything to say or not? Just hearing your friend breathing into the phone is far, far better than helping your misguided mother put the Christmas tree you didn't want in the first place into the stand.

So, I knew my tree installation time was limited at best. Cory held the tree while I tried to put it into the stand. Lo and behold, there was a huge knot on the trunk of the tree and all of the cajoling in the world wasn't going to make it go in. It had to be cut again.

I laid the tree down on the rug, gave Cory a desperately needed phone break, and began to cut the tree with the only implement I had - my trusty, advertised to cut through a tin can, Ginsu knife!

And cut through the trunk it did. It took much longer than it should have (hours longer), but it saved the Tree day.

It also took much longer than Cory could bear to get the tree straight after it was in the stand and so once again, I decorated the thing all by myself.

Now I know for a fact that if I had given up on the Christmas tree, Little Miss "I have friends, who needs a Christmas tree" would have been heartily disappointed; so every year, I fought with the tree, the tree stand and the ornaments, ruing the day Christmas trees ever became a tradition.

When Cory went out on her own, I breathed a Christmas tree sigh of relief and thought, "I'm free at last. No more Christmas trees for me."

And then, along came the Prince. He loves Christmas trees. Just like Cory, however, he can't be bothered decorating them. Wants one, insists on one, drags everything up from the basement, will fight with the tree stand, but will not, absolutely will not, decorate it.

When we moved into our house, we realized that in order for a Christmas tree to look good in our living room, we needed an extra tall one. That meant more lights, more ornaments, and a bigger, but still technologically inferior Christmas tree stand.

We bought the biggest tree we could find and dragged it into the house. The Prince had far better cutting tools than I did so cutting it down a little took far less time than cutting it with a Ginsu knife.

Now it was my turn to tsk, sigh and whine "are we done yet" as I stood on a ladder holding the tree while he tried to get it in the stand. At long last, he got it into the stand and went to the kitchen for a giant pitcher of water to fill the giant tree stand.

"Can't let it dry out, you know. That's when it loses all its needles."

Off the Prince went to watch football or whatever other sport they play in December, leaving me to decorate the giant tree. Hours later, I emerged from the living room, much worse for wear, and went to bed.

I had just settled down for a long winter's nap when from the living room, there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

"Crap, the Christmas tree fell over."

The Christmas tree was lying on the floor, the rug and floor completely soaked and most of the Christmas ornaments broken all over the room.

Undeterred, the Prince cried, "The Christmas tree will rise again!"

Oh, it rose again, alright. After cleaning up the mess; water and glass shards are a ghastly combination, we were ready to try again.

I held the tree again for what seemed like hours while the Prince put it back in the stand. He then had the ingenious idea of tying it at the top to the living room rafters with rope.

"Put holes in the beams," I said, "and I'll kill you."

So he tied to it to the hardware on the doors that lead to the patio. Okay, it again looked steady enough; it was straight enough, it was also 2:00 a.m. (when anything looks good) and I started back up to bed.

I glanced back at the Prince who had gone to the kitchen. As I walked up the stairs, I saw the pitcher in his hand.

"Oh, no Mister, you are not going to fill the damn thing with water again. Not happening. Call me crazy, but it's late, very late and the living room can't take another flood.

"It's fine now. Can't let it dry out, you know. That's when it loses all its needles."

I watched and waited. I wasn't going to redecorate until I was sure it wasn't going to fall over, not that I had many ornaments left, mind you.

Sadly, I did not have to wait long...the Christmas tree fell over again the very next day. No broken ornaments this time, but lots and lots and lots of water all over the floor, all over the rug, all over my Christmas spirit.

Unwilling to be beaten, the Prince insisted we put it up again! Not wanting to be the damper on the holiday spirit, I decorated the stupid thing with the remaining ornaments.

"It's sparse, dear, but it's probably going to be okay," he said.

I again saw him sneaking a giant pitcher of water into the living room.

"Can't let it dry out, you know. That's when it loses all its needles."

"Oh dear," I shuttered.

It's impossible to believe, but it fell over AGAIN! This time, it fell two days later and AFTER I had decided it was safe to redecorate. I cleaned up the ornament shards, cleaned up the flood and insisted that we take the devil tree out of the house once and for all.

"EVIL tree," I exclaimed, "Get it out of the house!"

I helped the Prince drag the damn thing out on the patio where I hoped it would shrivel up and die as I gleefully watched it lose all its needles.

Just as I was going back into the house, our wonderful neighbor came over and said to the Prince,

"Having trouble with your tree stand? I just bought a new one so technologically advanced that it actually saved my marriage. I can put up the tree without any help at all! Saved my marriage, I tell you, saved my marriage."

I said, "I'm going in the house to blow my brains out now, dear. If you go out and buy the magic stand that saved Chuck's marriage, be sure to buy ornaments. After three miserable attempts, I'm all out of humor, and you're going to engage in this grudge match all by yourself."

Needless to say, we own the magic stand and some of the funniest looking ornaments you've ever seen. By the time we took the thing down on New Year's Day, it had in fact, lost most of its needles despite the Prince's constant watering.

Fast forward to the following year...

"We're not putting up a tree this year, are we dear?"

"Well, of course we are, it wouldn't be Christmas without one."

"That's it," I thought, "The rug can't possibly soak up any more water without being totally ruined and the finish on the floor is a mess. If the Prince wants a Christmas tree, I'm going to break down and buy an artificial one."

So without the Prince's knowledge, I went out and bought a giant, as real-looking as I could find, artificial Christmas tree. The Prince got a hernia putting the thing together, and I got a wicked case of hives from trying to arrange the artificial branches; but, it looked great and it came complete with lights! No more broken ornaments and no more water to dampen my tenuous Christmas spirit. This Christmas, I thought, is going to be just great.

And then I plugged it in. Not one single light worked.


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