Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lackadaisical Christmas Decorating

Somewhere in my files, I wrote a post about my fake Christmas tree, complete with a picture, but I can't find it. 

Since I've lived in this house, I've always put up a fake tree that my grandmother's friend gave me a long time ago.  It was probably fairly old when she gave it to me and 15+ years later, I decided it was very old for a fake tree.  I imagined the fire retardent had all been sucked into our lungs, there was probably more lead in it than you could even monitor and it had started to shed a lot.

And it had been up 365 days a year in her house for a while, so it was probably pretty filthy when she gave it to me and I never thought about it!  She would put Easter eggs on it or hearts or whatever for a holiday and never felt like taking it down.

It was a really full tree and I bet when she bought it, it was pretty expensive.  It was about 6 feet tall and you had to put in each branch.  That was the worst part.  Getting it out and then putting in each branch.  There were probably about 80 of them. They had little color coded paint chips on each end so you'd get the right length in at the right level.   Then you had to bend out each little branch when you put in the bigger branch.

Then you had to string it with lights and decorate it.

It was kind of chore.  And so was putting it away.

I always had filth on my hands when I was finished and would think that I should set it up some time in the summer, outside, so I could hose it down and get the decades of built up dust off of it.

Or just get a new tree.

This year, I decided, was the year for a new tree.  I saw a wild sale on them at Michael's and there was a coupon for another 25% off, even sale items, between 4pm and 9pm on a particular Sunday.  I perused all of the tree options and decided it was time.  I'd get the most expensive one because it looked the fullest and I'd be saving quite a bit.

So, I scheduled that whole Sunday around going to Michael's at 4pm.

When I got there and found the tree, it was out of stock in the back.  The only option was the one on display.  I didn't mind because it hadn't been up long and it was over people's heads, so it wasn't like people were yanking and pulling on it.

So, the saleslady said she'd take it down and put it back in the box for me and I'd be on my way.

45 minutes later, there were 2 sales people and me trying to get this tree into a box.  It's a prelit tree, so we were trying to be careful not to bend anything or break off any of the lights but it was impossible.  There were 2 sections that came completely apart, but nothing we did would make them fit in the box because one was just way too long.

Several times, I suggested that maybe it was really 3 pieces and the top part comes out?  Because that's how my old one was.  They assured me it was only 2 pieces.  And the picture on the box showed 2 pieces.

Finally, I convinced them to go out back and see how another model was put in the box so maybe it would give them a clue.

They came running back grumbling about how it IS 3 pieces and the top DOES come off!  Why the picture doesn't show that is a mystery.

So, off we went to the register and she rang it up at the sale price.  And I proudly gave her my coupon for another 25% and she said no.  See, it's not for trees over 4 feet.

Incredulous, I examined the coupon and indeed it said that.

I started to want to walk away but I felt really bad that she had spent so much time taking it apart.  So, I asked if I can get something else off because it was the floor model.  She thought that was a great idea but the manager would not budge.  Something about they sell out of these trees every year and blah blah blah and NO.

I really wanted to tell them to stick it but I really felt bad for the woman who had taken it apart.  And it was a good deal based on what I've seen.  So I bought it.

And it didn't fit exactly as it should have in the box, so it was hard to wrestle by myself.  So, it sat in my car and went for a ride for about a week until k-ster and I were home at the same time before midnight.

When we brought it in, it was just before Thanksgiving.  Even though it's fake, I can't justify a tree up before Thanksgiving, so I told k-ster it would have to sit on the floor until at least December 1.  So, we chased it around the living room for a week.  Moved it into another room when I had people over.  Moved it back into the living room that night and then back into the other room the next day when I had my jewelry sale.

On Sunday, as k-ster moved it back into the living room, and I was silently mad that I had not put it up yet, I started hearing and seeing signs of picking up stuff to put it in the corner and set it up.  I was not prepared to do that because I had stuff to do all day Sunday, but he decided to go ahead and put it up.

So, for a couple of days, our tree looked like this.

Just a bare tree with lights.  I noticed right away that it's much thinner than the other tree and looks kind of bare in some spots.  Unlike the old tree, I don't have to put all of the branches in.  They just kind of fold out like an umbrella and then you have to bend out each branch.

When I finally had time to put on the ornaments, I discovered that this tree has thicker branches so it was harder to hang a lot of my ornaments.  And try as I might, the bare spots still remain.  I didn't realize just how full that other tree was!

I love that it's prelit so I don't have to run around the tree with the strings of lights.  And I like that I can still bend the branches as I need to for various ornaments.  And though this one is 7.5 feet tall, it's not as wide, so my ornaments are closer than they used to be.

We also can't put the starfish quite on the top because it's touching the ceiling and bending a little.  And I can't decorate the upper branches because it's that much taller.

I like to think there is less lead in this one and the fire retardant might be less cancer causing the old stuff.  But I'm probably just kidding myself.

I had a moment where I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone as I was decorating.  Many years ago, we did a Secret Santa with teachers and the principal at school, and my principal was my Secret Santa and I was hers.  Total luck of the draw and it was so weird.  Someone had told her I didn't have ornaments for my tree and wanted some (which was true) so she bought me a bunch.

Every year, I put them up and think of her.  And lo and behold, this year, she is my principal again.  I remember the first Christmas I put them up when she had been moved to a different school and I thought I'd never work for her again.  And as I hung up her crazy ornaments this week, I was like "whoa, I'm working with her again!"

Do you think about people who gave you certain ornaments when you hang them?  I have received a few from students over the years.  Some have their names on the backs and some don't, but I'm pretty good about remembering them.  I figure if I take a second every year and think about who gave it to me, I'll probably always remember them.

I don't put a garland or tinsel on my tree.  Ever.  I also never put colored lights.  My mother does all three things.  I don't use tinsel because I couldn't stand it when I was little and it stuck to everything, including the cat.  Garlands just don't do much for me.  And I liked colored lights on her tree but not mine.

I also like those things you put over the Christmas lights that make it look like there's colored water bubbling through them.  My mother puts some of those up too.  Those were something we had when we were little and then no one had them for a while and now people have them again.  I should probably get some.

The only other decorating I've done is my JOY TO THE WORLD banner.  Every year, I plan to make some and put them on my etsy and I forget until I get this out and then it's way too late for Christmas sales!

I still don't have my greens on the door or my collection of snowmen on the mantel.  I usually put everything up December 6th which is St. Nicolas Day in France and then I take it all down on January 6th which is Epiphanie in France.  That gives a good month for all the effort of decorating and it gives me boundaries.  I'm not French but I like their timeline.

December 6th wasn't convenient for me this  year and the days are clicking by and I don't have my act together!  Every time I think about going out and cutting branches for the door, it's cold or wet.  I probably won't get around to doing it.

And we'll all survive.

Linking here:


  1. It looks great!! We have had a fake tree since I moved in with my husband. I do have to admit I was not happy at first, but love the ease of it all. The only thing I miss is the smell of pine!

  2. With Thanksgiving falling so late this year, I wasn't as motivated to decorate as I usually am. We take our tree/decorations down on Christmas night, so since they were going to be up for less time than unusual - I didn't put up as much as I usually do.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing with Adorned From Above’s Link Party. We love having your join the fun.
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above


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