Decorating the Christmas Tree

A Christmas Letter

December 2002

Since last December, I have been saying to myself "I really MUST get those Christmas cards out. I really must!" But what to write? What to write?

I don't know. How long is the Friday the 13th stuff supposed to last? On Friday evening, we started to put up our very full needled pine about 6 feet tall (one hardly notices the huge hole because we put it against the wall). On Monday, T came home early from work and we were admiring the tree. We were very pleased with it and ourselves. We were really taking our time to decorate it (about 1500 ornaments: some small, some large, many homemade, some very beautiful, some exceedingly garish, many ancient ones from grade school projects, many fragile, all treasured) and we were really having fun - no harsh words or shrieks had been emitted as we got the tree to stand up straight and arranged the lights just so then arranged the larger ornaments to cover up any last notion that there was a rather large gap on one side. (You can feel where this is going, can't you?) All that was left to put on were the thin red plastic rings that come on cranberry cocktail lids, the curly streamers and the angel at the top.

The cat was buzzing around our feet hoping for an early dinner. T was facing the backyard as we discussed what _we_ would have for dinner and how nice it would be to sit before dinner in the living room to admire our work. I was facing the tree, thinking that maybe that large bell should be on a slightly lower braauuugggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! I silently watched the tree suddenly and inexplicably fall forward onto the living room floor. T looked perplexed. I managed to gasp out that the tree just fell. (I wish I could say that we remained calm in the face of this calamity. I really wish I could) Wha-a-atttt??? IJUSTFILLEDTHERESERVOIRTHEREMUSTBEWATEREVERYWHERENOW!!

Unbelievably, we had very few broken ornaments and those that did break can be glued. We tried to stand the tree up again but realized that the stand it was in was completely faulty (this is something that T has known and repeated for quite some time. I have been saying, "NO no. It's fine. There's nothing wrong with it. It's perfectly servicable.") We sopped up as much water as we could, left tree lying on its side on the floor and the ornaments scattered all around and headed out to the hardware store to purchase the sturdiest, most expensive 10 year warrantee bucket-like tree container. Back home to remove the old stand from the tree, stop T from getting the hammer so he could pulverize the faulty stand, sweep up needles, branches, ornaments, lights, stand the tree up AGAIN. Put the lights on AGAIN. Untangle ornaments and put them on AGAIN. Stand back and declare that the lights are ALL WRONG. Remove the lights AGAIN. Rearrange the lights AGAIN. Switch them on to admire the work AGAIN. Painstakingly go through light after light on one of the strands that had inexplicably gone out. Fix the broken bulb. Put more of the ornaments back on the tree AGAIN. Now it's almost time for dinner and the thin red plastic rings that come on cranberry cocktail lids, the curly streamers and the angel for the top of the tree are STILL on the mantelpiece... there's always tomorrow.

Merry Christmas and all the best for 2003.

Love, E & T


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llizard aka ejm
Toronto Ontario Canada

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