Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oh! Christmas Tree

Author's note: Best read while listening to Switchfoot's song Oh! Gravity, link provided below.

I've always enjoyed getting the Christmas tree each year and spending time as a family decorating. The ornaments especially bring out nostalgia - as you dig out boxes of decorations, it is like unpacking memories that have been lost in the clutter of everyday life.

Of course, as the man of the house this means I get to do all the heavy lifting. Hauling the tree in, wrestling it into the stand, pulling out all the boxes from storage. My wife loves snowmen, and our house looks like the Invasion from Winter Wonderland every year. It's still all fun and good times - I just appreciate things more having to do them myself.

We've never had holiday disasters at our house before. This year didn't seem like a problem either. We found a nice, full tree that even had soft needles. Didn't end up with a "Charlie Brown" tree. For the money we paid for it, it better not be!

Last Saturday we picked the tree out and got it home on top of our minivan. I scavanged around until I found the stand, and the boys were helpers as I cut a little off the base and brought the evergreen into the living room. Since having kids, we've always put the tree up on a little table to keep it a little farther from curious hands, but this year the boys were old enough I kept the stand on the ground. It got late, so we promised that we'd decorate after church.

Sunday afternoon came and the kids were terribly excited to put on their favorite ornaments. Spiderman, Peanuts, Veggietales were objects of coveting. My mom collected decorations each year since the mid-70's, so the older ones I grew up with were my choice. The lights sparkled from the boughs. We had ourselves a pretty Christmas tree.

Except for the problem with leaning.

As we put on ornaments it liked hanging to one side. I adjusted the screws a little tighter, and it seemed to be stable. Later it tipped a little more, so I backed the screws off and twisted the base to line it up straighter. Problem solved, and we put the finishing touches on.

After dinner I plopped on the couch to watch the last few minutes of America's Funniest Videos since the football game was a blow-out (in the first quarter). I glanced up at our hard work, only to notice...

The tree was headed right for me.

Cat-like, I sprang from my comfy spot and caught the darn thing before I was picking needles from my nether-regions. The boys squealed and my wife shouted. Disaster averted. Except for the fact that the tree had rebelled, I suppose from too many cutesy decorations, and would not stay put at all. The bark was so soft that it just gave in to the screws. Obviously I would need to make a Wal-Mart run (being Sunday night) to get a new base.

Now the question was how to keep the tree behaving.

We tried tying a rope to it and hooking some hand weights to it, but that wasn't going to work. My wife took over for me and I ran out to the car. Then I promptly dashed back in to shut the blinds so the whole neighborhood wouldn't see her holding the tree for 30 minutes as I did my errand.

Thankfully Wally-World had a different type of stand, and after un-decorating a half of the tree, we laid it down and cut a few branches off the bottom so it would fit the new stand. Now, the test: would the rogue conifer stay upright?

It worked.

The boys got to worry if their decorations had suffered in the ordeal, and fight over who put which green ball up again. I had to hurry and clean up the house to be ready for the next day. What... fun.

It looks nice now, and I can laugh about it. I was even inspired by Switchfoot's song Oh! Gravity.

Oh! Christmas tree
Why can't we
Seem to keep it upright.
Sons of my wife
This is going to keep us up all night.


  1. The "rogue conifer"...nice!

    I've actually had two different trees fall. One time I heard a crash in the middle of the night and had to take care of it. My wife woke up later, wondering, "Why is Mark vacuuming at 1 in the morning?"

    We actually bought an artificial tree a few years ago. We leave it set up in the basement (with the lights on it). When Christmas rolls around, I take the two halves upstairs, set it up, and rearrange stray light stands that fell. 15 minutes, tops!

  2. Glad the game didn't put you to sleep.. must have had an angel watchin over you!

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