Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Oh Christmas Tree!

Last week we got our Christmas tree all up and pretty, doesn’t it look festive and sparkly and amazingly symmetrical?

Christmas Tree 2005

I picked it out, and if I must say, I am evidently “the shit” at picking out Christmas trees, thank you very much. Actually, this picture doesn’t do it justice, I’m still trying to figure out how to take a good picture with my new and tiny and wonderful little digital camera (an early Christmas present from my lovely husband). On closer inspection, the tree seems to be a little bit sparse, but I swear that’s got to be my poor photography skills, because in real life it seemed cluttered to the max with funky mismatched ornaments, gold and red glass bulbs, and glittery white lights.

Speaking of lights, until last week, I have never in my life had to put the lights on a Christmas tree. Traditionally, that was always my dad’s job growing up, and last year Dan naturally stepped up as the “man of the house” and took on the task. This year, however, he threw a bit of a stink about not wanting to have anything to do with stringing the lights on the tree, and being incredibly naïve I didn’t understand what the big deal was, so I agreed to do it. Just the fact that he offered, in exchange, to make dinner and do the dishes should have raised a red flag, but evidently I can be pretty oblivious to glaringly obvious signs of impending danger. (Doesn’t that seem like an easy and absurdly clear choice – do the dishes or decorate for Christmas?)

Anyways, putting lights on the Christmas tree, well apparently it sucks, and now I know. There are a variety of reasons why this seemingly simple task is so sucky, (each reason requiring its own bullet on account of the high suckiness levels going on there):

  • It might just be the tree we bought this year (a balsam), but holy crap, putting the lights on our tree f-ing HURT! I started out wearing just a short-sleeve t-shirt and quickly put on a sweatshirt and mittens in an effort to spare the poor skin on my hands and arms any further torture from those prickly, scraping needles! I still got a little red rash on my wrists, and almost drew blood through my mittens a few times, but it helped a little. And let me tell you, I certainly didn’t keep my pain to myself, I was wincing and crying and complaining the whole way through, because if I’m suffering, so must all around me. Who knew those pine needles would feel like prickly death on my poor sensitive skin? I certainly DID NOT!
  • There is truly no way to keep strands of lights from getting all tangled into one giant mess from one holiday season to the next. Dan swears he was ultra-careful about putting them away last year, specifically rolling them up, each strand individually, but the box of jumbled-up mess I opened prove that his efforts were futile. Are there magical little trolls decked out in camouflage who sneak into unsuspecting people’s storage closets and basements after the holiday season, making a mess of those once-a-year-appearing items which their victims have painstakingly worked at keeping organized? Do they thrive on witnessing the sweaty exasperation of a poor woman at her wit’s end buried in a sea of green cords? It’s a conspiracy… it’s got to be!
  • I’m pretty sure there’s no simple or structured way of actually stringing those damn lights onto the tree - - at least I haven’t found one. It seriously took me like two hours, and I was trying so hard to not be picky, but there was always some patch looking horribly bare or green cords hanging very visibly off the front of the tree. Even worse than tediously working to avoiding these issues, is fixing them after-the-fact, which is almost impossible to do without unraveling the entire strand from the tree. Argh.

Ok, lesson learned. Next time pick the dishes.

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