it's that time of year . . .
time to decorate for Christmas
which for many of us involves putting up an evergreen tree and decorating it.
the first three years ben and i were married, we bought pre-cut Christmas trees.
the fourth year we were living in a very tiny efficiency apartment,
most of our stuff (including the Christmas decorations) were packed away in a storage shed,
maddie was 15 months old,
and i was pregnant with isaac and on very strict bed-rest.
we weren't going to have any sort of Christmas decorations at all . . .
until one night this guy (who worked with ben) and his fiance
showed up at our door with a table-top tree and some tiny ornaments for us.
maddie was so excited!
we put the ornaments on and plugged the tree in.
it was one of those LED kind - that have sprigs of color-changing lights throughout,
so our funny little room was bathed in light:
pink fading to violet to blue changing to green . . .
and maddie was enchanted
and ben and i cried.
we had Christmas.
the next two years we bought trees again.
one was non-descript.
the next was beautiful and it was so. so. expensive.
oh. my. word.
and we didn't know how expensive it was
until it was all wrapped up and tied to the top of our vehicle.
it was beautiful. but not worth it.
the next year we bought a cheap tree at a big store.
we brought it home, set it up, strung the lights,
found all the boxes of Christmas ornaments,
made some coffee
and settled in to do some serious decorating.
one string of lights went out.
the one in the middle.
so, we set about un-lighting the tree,
and as we unwrapped the string of lights,
needles began to drop from the tree.
not just drop.
the needles were pouring from the tree.
ben grabbed the trunk of the tree with a look of consternation on his face and shook.
he was left standing with a bare trunk and branches
and on the floor was a mound of pine needles.
we looked at each other and just had to laugh.
and laugh and laugh.
after sweeping the needles off the floor,
we returned the bare trunk to the big store.
a few days later,
a friend who had heard about our needle-less tree
offered to loan us his old fake tree.
we gladly brought it home,
took it out of the box
and proceeded to match branch to trunk letter by letter,
all the while fluffing the needles - which miraculously stayed attached to their branches.
when the tree was put together it was rather plastic-y looking,
but we decorated it and it ended up being all right.
the following year we decided that enough was enough when it came to buying trees. ben went out and found us a tree.
it started out a bit brown, but water and warm air caused it to turn brilliant green.
we loved it.
so we did the same thing the next year,
and last year as well.
those cedar trees were so lovely.
but we discovered that they make ben's hands break out like crazy
when he sets them up and lights them,
and they cause maddie to be congested for the first week they are in the house.
so this year, i wanted to do something different.
what about a potted pine that we could plant outside in the spring?
we looked in to that.
not very feasible
unless we would have thought of it in the fall
before most of the nurseries shut down for the season.
ben had brought home these wooden wire-spools from a job.
and, well, hmmm . . .
what about some sticks? some red dogwood, some pussy willow.
and white twinkle lights.
and a few more twigs
(cause ben thought there should be)
i thought we should just use our favorite ornaments and no glass balls
(i knew there wouldn't be room for all of them)
but one afternoon isaac started hanging balls,
and this post from last advent season came rushing to mind
and i decided,
this looks awesome!
maddie and isaac hung most of the ornaments
and this is what we have
this is our christmas tree. and a very merry one, at that.