Wanting to surprise me first thing last Friday morning, and because his father had asked him a few times, Little Man put up and decorated our Christmas tree. With the exception of one or two Christmases, since my hubby and I moved to the Pacific Northwest we’ve used an artificial Christmas tree. So, this would be Christmas number twenty-two since we bought it.
Hearing my iPad’s alarm go off Friday, I wrenched myself out of a Mariana Trench deep sleep, thinking it felt too early. As I grabbed the tablet to silence it I was confused to not see a choice of snooze or stop. Instead I saw that Little Man was calling me on the messenger app we use. It took a moment for the cobwebs to clear enough to answer the call as I glanced at the time. I still had another hour to sleep.
“Mom! I need some help. I put up the Christmas tree but it fell and I fell and I’m afraid to get up and step on broken glass.”
On autopilot I swung my legs off the bed, got up and made him wait while I made a quick pit stop. Once my eyes took in the scene in the living room, a handful of ornaments scattered about, the completely decorated tree lying on top of Little Man, I noticed one of the larger heavy glass ornaments still intact. Phew.
A few feet from the tree, glass from a shattered ball littered the floor. And Little Man was complaining about having landed on his tailbone. This, less than twenty-four hours after sharing that his back was feeling pretty good. He’d wrenched it badly in early October, and more than two months later he was finally out of pain.
The first thing that came to mind was how symbolic of 2020 this scene was. The dumpster fire for so many. Fortunately, not so much for my family. But between the political news and the world dealing with a pandemic and all it’s brought, 2020 wasn’t the year anyone expected.
Despite Little Man being in pain, I made him wait another two minutes while I grabbed my camera to immortalize the symbology of the moment. After getting a few photos, I picked up ornaments that were scattered on the floor. When I grabbed the tree trunk to lift it off Little Man the top section popped off. “Great,” I sarcastically moaned. I’d grabbed it a little too high. After finally lifting the tree a bit, Little Man scooted out from underneath. He sat on the rug until I swept and vacuumed up shards of glass.
Regaling me with what happened, once Little Man had the tree assembled and decorated, he noticed it was tipping to one side. As he righted it, the base disintegrated and the behemoth fell towards our guinea pig’s cage. Diving for the tree so it wouldn’t land on our pet, Little man grabbed it, losing his balance, going down with the tree on top of him.
With the first round of clean up completed, I was exhausted. My energy, although quite low these days, was lower than low, and I wasn’t up for undecorating the tree quite yet. Putting two and two together, I asked Little Man if he’d been up all night – he never gets up before me these days – and he had. Between the defeat of going through all the work to drag boxes and tubs out of our attic crawl space to get at the tree, and assembling and decorating it, only to have it break and crash, and the pain of landing on his tailbone, Little Man’s goose was cooked. He was done.
What surprised me through my tired and foggy head and a body that didn’t want to function, was excitement at the thought of buying a new tree. Yes! After a life well lived, our tree had worn out its usefulness and it was time to let it go.
We both crawled into bed for some much needed sleep, leaving the mess for later.
Later in the day we took each ornament off the tree, sharing some of their origin stories, putting them back in their storage box, finding two more casualties underneath. One was a gingerbread man Little Man had made in elementary school, it’s head mostly decapitated, that I repaired with glue. The other being a thin glass ornament we’d been given years ago by someone who’s no longer in my life as of this past year. How symbolic.
The next day we ventured out to find a new artificial tree. Less than two weeks before Christmas is absolutely not the time to shop for a fake tree. After looking around at a big box store that’s known for having a big selection of Christmas trees and decorations, we struck out. Then we headed to a nearby store a friend recommended. They still had several trees, ranging from traditional looking trees to one sided trees you put against the wall, and all sorts of funky colored and ultra-skinny trees.
As we honed in on more traditional trees and after gagging at the prices, we rounded a corner and saw the perfect tree. It wasn’t pre-lit so we could use our multicolored lights, and it was nice and full. And although it cost considerably more than our old tree, it was still affordable. Plus the assembly was easy peasy! Instead of having to put every branch on the trunk, they were hinged, folding for storage. Sweet!
Asking a nearby store employee where we could find section C-26 to grab a tree, he said they were out, but we could buy the floor model. Without batting an eye, I jumped. The lovely man helped us take it apart, put it in our cart, and helped us pick out a storage bag. Score! Got the last one!
With that, we brought our new and improved, and somewhat larger Christmas tree home. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you!