The Libutti family has a fake Christmas tree that we bought years ago and just absolutely adore. Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, we drag this tree out, set up the center pole and arrange the branches one by one until it's full and pretty. Then we add the lights, and the ornaments, and the angel we've had for our entire married life who blinks on the top. It's sentimental and pretty and satisfying.
When we moved into our new house, we both thought that maybe adding a second tree to go in the front living room window would be nice. So for the whole year, we kept an eye on After Christmas sales, Christmas in July sales, and pre Christmas sales looking for a suitable mate for our beloved, trusty tree. Sure, we found many possibilities, but we were never quite ready to make the commitmentt to buy another.
Then I had a brilliant idea- we could buy a REAL tree, get some basic ornaments for it, throw on some lights, and -viola!- problem solved for much less money. Plus, we would get to experience the joy of a REAL tree- the smell, the shape, all those bushy branches, and the idea of doing Christmas in the Traditional Manner. And you know how I'm all about tradition.
So on Saturday afternoon, we all piled into the family truckster and headed out to our local nursery. We roamed around a little, weighing a few different trees, some too short, some too tall, some too thin, some with bad sides, when Dan showed me one and it hit me with a love force: I LOVED THIS TREE. I wanted this tree and this tree would look perfect in our living room. The dream was coming true.
We put the tree on the roof of our car, much to Dan's chagrin and my delight- because what's more Americana than throwing a pine tree on your car full of happy kids and bringing it home? It's as delightful as wearing red, white and blue to your town's Memorial Day parade. I almost cried with happiness.
We came home, brought it inside, promptly realized the tree was about 6 inches too tall, trimmed the top, put on the lights and the garland and the beautiful gold and brown ornaments and the star on top. We had on Christmas carols and were all full of cheer. And this is what it looked like:
I was in love. Our dream of a second tree came true, and it was magnificent. I drank a glass of wine sitting in my living room, listening to music and cuddling with Jenna, who was interested in hearing how we chose the names Michaela, Jenna and Alec for them. A little while later, I went outside with my camera to take a picture of our holiday lights.
The next day, Sunday, I had to take Jenna to a birthday party. On my way home, I get a call from Dan.
"We have a big problem." he says.
"Are you having trouble with Alec?" I ask.
"No- I WISH that was the problem. Our tree fell over."
I got home, and sure enough, the whole thing had toppled over to the right. The water had spilled, there were pine needles everywhere, and it was a mess. So I did what I always do in these kind of situations.
I called my father.
He came right away to investigate and solve our problem. Dan and I had tried lifting the tree and repositioning it in the base but were not having any luck. My dad brought twine and he and Dan worked to get it back up, secured to the window moldings, and all was back to rights. Disaster averted.
On Monday at about 3pm, I was playing in the basement with Alec right before his nap. I heard some rustling upstairs but thought it was the cat getting into something- it was just a low level ambient noise we always have around the house. When I came back up, the tree was down again, shifted to the right, with half of the base off the ground. I picked it up and leaned it up against the window.
Last night I had to go out with Michaela for Girl Scouts but when I came home Dan and I worked on getting it into the base, tall and straight, for the third time. We had it all set- a bit precarious, but set- and within minutes it was down again, again to the right side.
Now, do me a favor- scroll back up and look at the picture of the upright tree. My majestic, beautiful dream-maker tree. See where the star on top is? See how straight the tree looks? And now see how far to the left the base is?
Our tree was doomed to fall and keep falling. It's crooked. A defective tree.
If it was just Dan and I, I would have stuck it out. But with a senile cat and three kids whizzing around the house, and three more kids coming for Christmas Day, I was too nervous that the tree would fall down on someone or rip itself out of the twine, damage our walls or window, and generally wreak havoc on our life.
So we took it down.
Off came the ornaments, the garland, the lights and the star. Gone was the smell, the needles, the dream of a tree in the window. We put everything away in a plastic bin, vacuumed up the mess, and generally felt sorry for ourselves.
And here's the tree now:
I'm sure our neighbors are wondering exactly what has happened over here. We have decided to just buy another fake tree after this holiday and put it up next Christmas.
And I'm pretty sure that our trusty ol' fake tree in the family room is snickering at us.