§ On December 12, 2018, I published a blog post about my lopsided Christmas tree. Well, much like Star Wars, the saga continues… §
I hit the Lopsided Tree with my car again.
Damn teeny one-car garage.
Damn teeny-tiny Christmas tree boxes that the disassembled tree never, never ever, fits back into after the season is over.
The Lopsided Tree was parked in a corner of my garage, fully assembled but with branches compacted and wound about with twine to keep them in place. And, yes, the duct-taped-and-tied-on-with-ribbon top branch was still in place, lopsided as all get-out, but appealing and cute.
But at some point during the summer months, the tree must have fallen over as I exited the garage, bent on some errand. Bent, indeed! For I returned and, easing into my narrow, short, not-SUV-ready garage, I failed to stop in time before cruising over the tumbled tree.
This time it was not the injured top branch which bore the brunt of the damage. Instead, several of the umbrella branches—the quick-set type which just open into place–crunched under the car tires. They were loose and floppy and quite obviously irreparable. Examining the damage, I sighed, gave the lopsided tree the last rites, pushed it upright back into its corner, and made space in my budget to begin saving toward a replacement tree.
And so it came to pass that late October (yeah, I know, it wasn’t even Halloween yet, but the Christmas displays were already prominent in all the stores) found me on the hunt for a new Christmas tree. After several disappointing false starts, I ventured far down the road to a home goods store where I had in the past experienced great luck in finding the obscure things I wanted. It was there I discovered my new little tree: much shorter than the lopsided tree, but prelit and with the soft, fluffy branches the manufacturers like to call “cashmere”. I lifted the compact box (the box into which the tree, next January, was sure to never again fit!) into my cart.
But in the months since I had inadvertently destroyed the lopsided tree, I’d been giving the whole “Christmas decorating” matter some serious thought. Two years previously I’d simplified much of my Christmas décor. Now I realized that I wanted a completely different tree. What, I pondered, what could I do differently? And why was this so important to me?
I love Christmas. I always have. I love the old, familiar carols just as much as the new songs that breathe life into the season. I love choosing presents, finding that just-right gift; I love wrapping them while sipping mulled cider. I love the scents of pine and the glimmer of candle flame. But in recent years, I’d found that decorating my tree felt more like a chore than a pleasure. Why? I needed to know why.
After much thought, I realized that my annual tree theme of bright red or plaid ribbons and golden ornaments felt stale and weary. I’d chosen that color scheme when trying something different just after my divorce. And beloved though some of my ornaments were, they’d watched over many a not-terribly-happy Christmas day. (The year when, having eaten the lovely Christmas lunch I’d prepared, everyone bailed without so much as carrying a dirty plate to the kitchen, leaving me all alone to a tearful afternoon of clearing up the mess; the year when a beloved relative had fallen into a coma on Christmas day, and I, having gone to keep the family company, had gotten lost in the dark on the way home, terrified but unable to summon assistance because I’d forgotten my cell phone; the Christmas when another relative, while enjoying the special dinner I’d worked so hard to cook, had mocked my aging nativity figurines…) There was, I concluded, a lot of accumulated negative energy infiltrating my Christmas décor.
So I began sorting through the boxes of decorations, keeping only a few of those most deeply precious. I’d already refurbished my disparaged nativity figurines (see Repainting the Nativity, 01/16/19). I bundled up ornaments and garland and donated them to a charity thrift shop.
Now, with my new, non-lopsided tree in the cart, I searched for equally new decorations, fresh and free of negative associations. Brilliant new colors: turquoise and silver and opalescent white. A Christmas tree unlike anything I’d done previously.
As I am Vintage, I may find myself, sooner than I like, downsizing to a “Not Quite Giving Up on Christmas” tabletop tree. And I will always recall with pleasure the many Christmas trees I have decorated with a fair degree of artistry and enjoyment.
But despite having moved on, I will always remember that quirky Lopsided Tree.