Monday, December 3, 2012

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree--NOT!

“I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.” -- Maya Angelou

My sister Jane volunteered to help me decorate for Christmas. Only things didn't go exactly as expected...

We started with the two Norfolk Pine trees outside my front door. This summer I put up with an electrician who ticked me off, who broke a light fixture in my laundry room, and who didn't do the job right, just to get working outlets. So when I strung the new lights around my potted pines, and plugged them into the socket that worked BEFORE my travails with the electrician, I felt confident. 

Nada. Not a glimmer.

So Jane and I went out to buy battery operated lights. I figured they would be cheaper and easier than bringing back the electrician whose name is MUD in my book.

On the way, we bought salad fixings and veggies for dinner.

We came back and decorated the potted pines. They looked great. But earlier in the day, I'd been watching the High-Low Project on HGTV, and I had this huge hankering for green pillows that I'd seen at Target. So Jane and I hopped in the car, drove to Target (10 miles away), and discovered they had sold out of green pillows. But they did have more battery operated lights! So we bought them, and on the way home, stopped and bought Mediterranean food from this cool cafe I discovered. Stocked with babba ganoush, fava bean salad, and stuffed grape leaves, we headed home.

After eating, we pulled out my white Christmas tree...only to discover it had turned yellow. I didn't believe it. So we hauled it over under my kitchen lights. Yep, yellow. Then I insisted we take it to my craft lamp. Yep, yellow. Only in blotches. Very ugly.

So we drove 10 miles to Walmart where I bought the tree. At Customer Service, the lady explained, "We offer 90 days on general merchandise."

"Who drags out her Christmas tree in February to make sure the color hasn't changed?"

"Sorry!" But she didn't look sorry at all when she added, "It was probably the heat. You didn't let it get hot, did you?"

Duh, we live in South Florida. Hot? My tree? No, ma'am. I put it in a FREEZER when I'm not using it. 


I caved. I bought a green artificial tree. I walked all the aisles, examined every model, fell in like with the 7 1/2 foot tree with white lights, Model F. We bought it, dragged it home, pulled it out of the box and had colored lights. Yes, the Model F on the floor had WHITE LIGHTS, but mine had colored lights.

Then Jane said, "What do you want to do?"

I said, "This isn't exactly what I planned...but oh, well."

And we both started laughing. That's when she quoted Maya Angelou.

The tree is not at all what I expected. I had all my sea-themed ornaments out. I was ready to put up a blue and green tree. But I gave up.

So did my dog, Vicky. Decorating tired her out!

But I love my colorful tree. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens when you're making other plans." I would amend that: "Christmas trees are what happen while you're making other plans!"


Linda O. Johnston said...

Sounds like your tree decorating this year was an adventure to remember, Joanna. I hope Vicky gets her energy back fast!

Monica Ferris said...

Because we're going on a short book tour Dec. 10 - 15, we've decided not to put up our tree until we get back. No need to offer our lonesome cats a smashing (!) distraction.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Ladies, my sister and I were laughing about how our old cat, Stanley, used to climb our trees and bat at ornaments. I should have videotaped Vicky snoring under the boughs. It was pretty cute.

C said...

It sounds like you live 10 miles from just about everything. :) I used to live in a rural area where everything besides the feed store, one bank, and a tiny market was an hour away. By the mileage it was only 30 miles, but the highway department really meant business when they posted 35 mph signs on the mountain roads so everything took longer to reach outside the little valley. It was a beautiful place to live, but I enjoy living in an area now where I am 10 minutes rather than an hour from almost everything.

I was pleased to just get one little Advent wreath on our dining table in time for Sunday, much less all out Christmas decorating even started. I'm also curious how our dogs will respond to the tree this year. We've adopted 3 young chihuahuas from the shelter since last year and they have infused new energy and rowdiness into the 4 older chihuahuas and yorkies. It could be adventurous with our decorations this year. I wonder if I could start a new trend of only decorating the top half of the tree and using piddle pads for a tree skirt. What do you think?

Monica Ferris said...

C, I think your decorating idea is . .. um, unique - but very pragmatic. I used to have a cat who made a hobby of undecorating my tree while I was at work. Her mother had perfect manners and merely slept under it.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

When I was a kid, we didn't have Christmas tree stands. We'd pack parts of bricks around the trunk, which was then stuck in a bucket. I carried on the tradition at college, and my cats were always bringing down the trees.

As for piddle pads...whatever works!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

And yes, I'm 10 miles from big box stores, and mostly I love it!

Betty Hechtman said...

I love hearing about your adventure. It's too bad, but true, troubles are much more interesting than things that work out perfectly.

annewalker said...

It's alright hun, the tree, having the cute doggie under it, seems nice to me. I like the Christmas tree decorations as well. So you're good to go. Good luck for this year's decorating for Christmas.