Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How to Properly Construct a Tree

"Jake! Help me figure out this Christmas tree!!"

We have a fake tree. Yes, I know, for someone who lives in Canada it almost seems like a betrayal of sorts, considering the vast forests that surround us. At one time though, a fake tree just seemed...well...easier.

As long as I remember, Christmas tree decorating always involved some sort of cursing and wrestling with a plastic tree holder that you jam the trunk into and pray that the greenery isn't listing wildly to one side, ready to topple over at any second. One year when I was about eleven, a new kitten in the house had an intense fascination with the tree. He would stalk the ornaments from the couch, occasionally launching himself off the arm like a rocket and grabbing hold of his prize to bat about with glee. His fascination finally got the better of him when he tried to climb the tree itself, and it fell completely over on him.

I thought I'd never see another Christmas, my mom was so angry.

Then I met Hubs and the debates began. Gaudy sparkly garland wound around the tree, or tinsel? Real or fake? Everyone has an idea of how their Christmas tree should look. Ours were about as different as two people could get. We finally settled on no tacky garland (his idea), and no tinsel (mine), but we agreed on the sort of sparkly tree star, circa 1977.

Tired of all the work it took just to get the stupid tree to stand straight, the Christmas Jake was born we finally gave in and bought the fake one. We have children now, we thought. This will just be so much easier.

Except, of course, the instructions for putting it together are in French. You remember my French skills, right?

Every year we wrestle with putting the bottom together because if you don't do it just right, it will list sadly to one side in a vaguely familiar way. I usually enlist Jake, who inherited Hub's fix-it gene. Although this year, it was on vacation to some place sunny. He gave up after a few minutes and left the tree to me, the mechanically challenged member of the household.

Whoever invented these things must have an affinity for torture of kind. You need to match the fake branches with the corresponding color coded sticker on the "stem" of the tree, which would be fantastic if the branches had stickers and weren't naked so you have to guess where they go.

By the way, don't judge my decorating skills based on that bronze bird in the background. I have tried valiantly in the last 15 years and 4 moves to somehow "lose" the thing without success, but it belongs to Hubs from his bachelor days and he won't part with it.

An hour later, Jake found me wrestling with a string of twinkle lights and a straight, completely put together tree in the living room.

"WOW! I don't believe it! You figured it out!"

Ya, well...I suppose after 12 years it's about time I figured some things out.

...besides how to make some cute (and very eco friendly) ornaments, that is.

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