Sentiments on Marriage and Christmas Trees

tree
Ah, The Christmas Tree.

I can’t express how much I love our family’s Christmas tree. The tradition. The memories. The emotions the memories bring.  The ornaments that each hold a little story. Ornaments from my childhood and ornaments from way before I was born from my Pop-Pop’s family. The adventure of going to the farm to pick it out. The way it lights up the living room. Filling us with those warm and fuzzy feelings. 

But damn, it can be a bitch to pick out and set up. Raise your hand if any work regarding your annual Christmas tree has started a minor argument or eye rolls or looks of resentment between you and your partner? 

We trekked out to a farm to pick out our Christmas tree on Black Friday. Or I should say, farms. We went to three different farms before we found “the one”. We lamented over size and price. That one was too bushy at the bottom, that one has a huge bare spot at the top, this one is outrageously overpriced, and that one isn’t full enough. 

Once we get home we struggle to get it perfectly in the stand. I hold the tree by the trunk while Ryan lies on his stomach trying to screw the base into place. It’s always crooked on the first try. Teach me your skills if you can perfectly set you tree in the stand on the first try. So then we try again and one of the washers gets dropped into the bottom of the base. Out comes the whole tree and we start over from scratch Then we get it “pretty good” but then argue over an inch or two to the left or to the back. Then we have to twist it so the prettiest angle is facing out front. By that point it’s crooked all over again. 

Then comes the lights. We work swiftly as a team only to realize that we started with the light cord “plug in” at the top rather than the bottom and have to start over again. I try to drape the lights perfectly over the branches rather than rush it. We’re eye rolling at each other’s “methods” and are both ready to scream, “Just let me do it!”

But then it is done. The tree is perfectly straight. The lights are draped evenly. We plug it in and step back to look at our masterpiece. Standing arm and arm we take a sigh as we let the beauty of the tree wrap us in farm and fuzzy feelings. That night we enjoy our usual TV consumption while under the glow and scent of the Christmas tree. It’s heavenly. 

We snuggle up in bed, happy with ourselves and our holiday spirit. Then comes 6:30 a.m. and I’m woken by a loud crash. Thinking Ryan broke a breakfast plate I yell downstairs asking if he’s okay. When I get no reply, I realize he has already left the house. Panicked, I rush down the stairs and find our perfect Christmas tree lying on the ground. Countless irreplaceable and antique ornaments shattered and water everywhere.

I cry. And then start picking up the mess. I call Ryan and he turns around and comes back home and helps me. We’re both agitated, frustrated, and sad. In total it takes two hours to clean up the mess, to un-decorate the rest of the tree, and find a way to make it stand upright again. 

I’m heartbroken over the ornaments lost. They are memories of my childhood, of traditions, and family members. They are only things. But they still hurt. My Christmas spirit was low for a bit. I went out and purchased a new stand. We spent another night assembling the tree in the new stand but left it undecorated for a few days. I simply didn’t have the heart. The tree was a monster, glaring at me from the corner. Taunting me and I just didn’t want to deal with it. 

Then on Sunday, we turned up the Christmas tunes and redecorated the tree. And all is well, Christmas spirit is restored. And it got me thinking and reflecting  (like this season is meant to do): the Christmas Tree is a lot like a marriage. 

These holiday traditions, the ups and downs, are what brings us together. We put up with each other’s quirks and work as a team to make something that will never be “perfect” as good as we can for us. Our marriage, like a live tree, will never be perfect. It is wild, untamed, in need of trimming, and pruning. In need of love and care and affection. Through the yeas we accumulate memories and traditions and adorn our marriage with them. Sometimes we fall and sometimes we break and sometimes we have a little trouble standing upright. Our hearts become shattered. But we overcome and we move forward. Through tears we pick ourselves up and keep pushing. Together.

Although the tree felt like an annoyance this year, we knew that it was in our best interest to set aside our hurt and make it into something special again. In that way, the Christmas tree is like our marriage, a symbol of something for the two of us to gather around and appreciate and respect. A ceremonious element of our lives to look forward to. To gaze at together and to bring us the warm feelings only the two of us comprehend.. It represents our imperfect love, that Christmas tree. And most importantly it brings us hope, much like marriage vows. 

And also, as this sentimental metaphor proves, full of a lot of SAP! 

But when else at Christmas time is it appropriate to be overly sentimental?

 

 

 

How To Remove Christmas Tree Sap From Your Hands

tree
I’m going to keep this short and sweet today. One, it’s Friday and Two, it’s been one hell of a week. 

So yes, the Christmas tree. The centerpiece of everyone’s holiday decor. So festive, so traditional, so full of SAP!

Anyone that has gotten hands on with a Christmas tree knows that sap is horrible to remove. First is the initial sap attach you get while lugging the tree into your house. Followed by more sap while stringing the lights and even more sap when you to decorate the tree. The Christmas tree sap can’t be avoided. 

It’s all over you palms, in between your fingers, under your nails, and up your arms.

Think of this scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

pinsapchristmasvacation
Soap and hot water will not cut it. 

Know what works like a charm every time? BUTTER.

butter  
Yep, the kind you cook with. Cut a sliver off a stick of butter and rub it all over your hands and arms and then wash with warm water and soap. You will be sap free after an application or two.  

The more you know!

An Ode to the Christmas Tree

tree 2013 2

Linking up with Amber (Mr. Thomas and Me) and Erin’s (Hooley with a Z) 12 Days of Blogging Christmas link up.  

Dear Christmas Tree,

We wait for your presence all year long. For that special time of year when you become the center piece of our little home. No other piece of furniture, decoration, photograph, or picture can make our home as cozy as you do. Our home becomes a safe haven, a place to hide away from the stresses of the outside world and the cold winter weather. The power to bring that solace belongs solely to you.

Yesterday, we trekked out to a farm in the country side to find you. We searched and searched. Some trees were too bushy, too tall, too patchy, or too small. And then there you stood. So majestic. It was as if you were branches were reaching out to us. saying “Yes, I am yours, take me home!”

  tree farm

red boots

Ryan selecting tree

our tree!

 We strapped you atop of our car roof and happily drove you home. Once you were in our living room, you made yourself right at home. Melting into the atmosphere – this is where you were meant to live, to spread your joy. You fill the air with the smell of Christmas.

It smells like a 6-year-old Katie too excited to fall asleep on Christmas eve, after putting out cookies for Santa on that special plate.It smells like a 8-year-old Katie lying under the tree, mesmerized by the season. It smells like singing Up on the House Top at the top of my lungs as Mom plays the piano. It smells like watching Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer with my brother while eating home made chocolate chip cookies. It smells like wrapping paper being ripped open on Christmas morning with grandparents. It smells like love.

We donned you with lights and gave you a skirt. Next came the ornaments. Oh those ornaments. Each one with its own little story. And each one has found a perfect branch to hang from. All of those memories hanging from your branches so brilliantly. I have received an ornament or two every year of my life, there are 30 years displayed on you, dear Christmas tree. You carry it with grace and add to their beauty.

Christmas tree, you fill us with hope. You remind us of the joys of Christmas pasts. You fill us with thoughts of innocence. We are reminded to slow things down. To take time to remember, to be hopeful, and to believe in magic.

When the time comes to take you down, our house will feel barren. The ornaments and their stories will be boxed up until next year when they can once again come out and play and help us believe that anything is possible.

MacDonald  Christmas tree 2013

  xoxo katie