Wednesday, December 3, 2008

evergreen intoxication

Oh Christmas tree, how I delight in thee! I feel drunk from your spicy, yet sweet, subtle, yet overwhelming aroma. I sniff you the second I enter our building, even though I must climb two long flights of steps to greet you. Sometimes I swear that I smell you at work, but I know that I imagine things. For nearly a year now I have anticipated your arrival. No other chore could drag me out of the house on the Sunday evening after Thanksgiving, especially after traveling over eight hours and sitting on the interstate with the car parked because the traffic was so bad. But on Sunday I hurriedly unpacked so that Brad and I could uphold one of our most beloved traditions: picking you up as soon as we returned from Thanksgiving, decorating you, and enjoying you through Christmas. Our time together is so brief; I can't bear to waste a day of it.

Don't get me wrong: ours is not a cheap or an easy relationship. Although I grew up with the "real thing", I doubt that my parents ever spent more than $10 on you. Imagine my shock when, during our first year of marriage, Brad and I went to pick you up and spent nearly $40 on you. Fast forward seven years later and now you cost us double that amount. But we love the farmer who grows you and we are suckers for tradition, so we acquiesce to his constantly increasing prices. We'll only be together for 26 days this year, but every penny is worth it.

Being an avid plant lover and living in a small city apartment, I have little room for you at home. But we still find ways to squeeze you in every year. Fern, my favorite child the rest of the year, gets banished to a less-sunny location so that you can take over the prime spot in the house. Although, Fern has grown so much that she tried to fight you for the Christmas honors this year. But you still won, for one more year at least.

We do force you to squeeze into a small space, and your bottom is rather plump this year, but your shape and height are ABSOLUTE PERFECTION. I knew you were "the one" as soon as I laid eyes on you. You were the second tree I saw and I knew instantly that I had to have you. I refused to consider any others. I had no need to.

You are rather messy. Your secretions stain your skirt and leave a sticky residue on our hardwood floor. Your needles stay with us year round. But when I find your remnants in a crevice of the floor in July, I can't help but smile and eagerly anticipate your arrival in a few short months. I track your needles and the silver icicles (you are SUCH a fashionable diva!) all over the place: in the bedrooms, outside, in the car, to work. But I know that this is your way of sticking with me throughout the day. I kind of like it.

You require constant attention. While the other plants need water only once a week at most, you thirst daily. And plain old water won't do. Your sweet tooth craves a sugary cocktail. You DO take after your mother!

Many try to impersonate you, but Brad and I have developed keen eyes and snobbish attitudes toward such types over the years. We refuse to be swayed by the "pre-lit", "easy to assemble and store", and "less expensive in the long run" arguments. The real thing is the only acceptable option for us. Forever. Lord willing, impostors will never be allowed in our home.

During years when we are away on Christmas Eve and Day, my heart breaks when we take you down, strip you of your glamorous, festive attire, wrap you in a large bag, and leave you out on the cold curb before we leave town. I'm usually tempted to stick a sign on you that says, "Free! Please take to a good home..." so that you can still enjoy the holiday without us. We fear that our early departure will infuriate you so much that you'll burn the house down if we let you stay by yourself. But this year, Brad and I plan to spend Christmas at our home, so you get to enjoy your cozy spot by the fire and celebrate the holiday with us. We're thrilled beyond belief!

I know that my heart will feel like a boulder on December 26th when we take you down, strip you of your beautiful attire, wrap you in a large bag, and leave you on the cold curb, awaiting a ride in a smelly garbage truck and a possible beheading or cremation. The house will smell stale without your rich aroma and will look bare without your plump self as skinny Fern happily reclaims her chief post. But as I discover your remnants throughout the year, and think of you occasionally, I will eagerly anticipate November 29, 2009, when Brad and I will come to pick you up again.


Smiling Mama said...

Oh this is fabulous! I think one of your best posts ever. I agree with every word!!! (Except we totally tempt fate and leave ours up even when we go out of town for 7+ days over Christmas! And, I don't take our tree down until after New Years!)

Amy said...

That's a big tree! Great post, but I grew up with a fake tree and enjoy the low maintenance. We haven't put ours up yet, but when we do (this weekend), it will stick around until after New Years as well.

Jennifer said...

Fantastic post! I never had a real tree until I married Matt, but I have really come to look forward to it, even though it is usually a pain and we argue about whether it is straight for days. I think that it's just that much more special, knowing that you can't just retrieve it out of the attic whenever you feel like it, and that the time you have with it is limited. We've got to go get ours, hopefully this weekend!