Reposting from 12/14/2014
Today we will be searching for a Christmas tree. Because I have somewhat lost my mind, instead of getting my normal, beautiful Scotch pine tree from the local Christmas tree farm, we are cutting down a slouchy, I-can’t-hold-your-ornaments-up cedar tree from the farm. I have lost a great battle this year. Since our first Christmas together, my husband and I have argued about Christmas. He asks, “Why spend money on a tree when there are perfectly good ones outside?” or “Why wrap presents when they’re already wrapped in the Wal-Mart bag they came in?” Of course, my philosophy is different. My replies - “Because that’s ugly,” and a very disdainful, “What is wrong with you?” I’m surprised I didn’t crack sooner.
To prepare our first Christmas tree, I spent a lot of money. I bought white lights galore, red and gold ribbons to hang from the top, fake poinsettias and holly. I purchased antique-looking glass ornaments, different sized glittery and shiny ornaments in gold and red, and homemade snowmen in top hats. I had to have a sturdy tree to support these heavy decorations. As I started to decorate, my husband asked where he could put the two ornaments he owned. I looked them over and told him he couldn’t; they didn’t match. He took this as a gesture of war and kept sneaking them on when I wasn’t looking.
In my defense, he had other options. I bought a three-foot fake tree that all the mismatched ornaments could go on. Even I had personal ornaments that couldn’t go on the big tree. To appease him, I even bought multi-colored lights (which I detest), but he wasn’t having it. He still complained. I relented a little. His grandma had given him one of the ornaments, so I told him he could put it on, but it had to hang inside the tree, and I showed him how to put ornaments inside and outside the tree to fill it (I could be a professional decorator). I would not allow the other one because it looked like it came from a box of Cheerios.
Besides the one mismatched ornament, my tree was perfect. It looked like it belonged in a department store. It was tall and fat, covered with red and gold. I topped it with a ribbon creation that took me three hours to make. The electric meter was spinning out of control with the amount of lights twinkling on this tree. The presents were wrapped in matching red and gold paper with beautifully decorated ribbons. I was pretty proud of myself. My husband was disgusted. It was a little much for our tiny trailer. For the next month we’d have to turn sideways to get from the living room to the kitchen without disturbing the tree.
My husband continued to complain about the tree, asking things like, “When we have kids, are you going to let them put their homemade decorations on the tree?” trying to lay a guilt trip on me so I’d relent to his Cheerios ornament. Then he got his revenge, and got it in a way that used my own techniques against me.
I came home one Saturday night from my second job as a waitress. Didn’t you know, every teacher has a second job. As I walked in the door, completely exhausted, the tree lights were already plugged in, but my husband was not at home. It put a smile on my face to walk into the house with my beautiful tree all lit up. I went to the refrigerator to get something to drink, then grabbed a cup to fill the tree stand with water. I watered the tree, then sat in the recliner, resting my feet, drink in hand, and stretched out to admire my tree. That’s when I noticed it. There were more decorations, but they hadn’t been as noticeable as his other attempts at sabotage because these new ornaments matched. I got out of the recliner and took a closer look. He had used my advice and layered the new decorations inside the tree. I had to get pretty close to realize what exactly the new decoration was, but I was fuming by the time I saw the deer and it’s large rack, printed on a gold and red Stag beer can.
As it turns out, while I was at work, my husband and one of his friends thought it would be funny to get a case of Stag, drink the nasty stuff, and decorate my tree. My husband’s only defense was, “They matched, didn’t they?” He did such a good job of hiding them in the tree, and my tree was just so darn big, that it took me a few days before I found the last of the twelve cans, yes, all twelve, in my tree.
So as I head out to get a cedar tree, I might as well let him put on any ornament that he wants. We’ll put on multi-colored lights and Cheerios ornaments. I’ve got a couple of Mizzou ornaments that would really clash with my red and gold. I’ve got some tiny purple ornaments that I purchased for a classroom display. I might as well throw those on too. While we’re at it, we should just go all out. I’ll decorate the tree and he can alternate drinking Stag and Busch Light, and we’ll have red, gold, blue, and silver. The next thing you know, he’ll be stringing popcorn on the tree, and I’ll be at the mall, crying my eyes out in front of a Dillard’s professionally decorated ten foot tree.