To tree or not to tree

I hit that fork in the to-do list road. My Chuck III approach to one thing at a time was working very well. I got most everything done, watched the 49ers squeak out a playoff birth, had the Christmas carols playing and was fully embracing the moment.

I woke up refreshed and dug back into the list. The time had come to set off for my bike ride, mail the now very late Christmas cards– war correspondence is faster than Snapfish sends photos–and pass the final Rubicon. To tree or not to tree?

I am not a procrastinator, but I had sure put this off. When the kids were little I insisted on a tree Dec. 1, no matter what. The whole month is Christmas and it started with decorating the tree. I had cut down trees in snow and I had drug them through muddy fields. I had had them blown off the roof on my car. But I also bagged my tree.

Now, I was trying to talk myself into a new tradition: Christmas Eve Tree Trimmings, just like Donna Reed in Its a Wonderful Life. (have I mentioned I love, love, love Donna Reed??) Only one problem. Today is the day, and I still didn’t really want the tree and all the hassles incumbent on getting one. The kids arrive soon and they will destroy me over a tree absence. So I sucked it up, headed into the chaos of last-minute Christmas panic and sought a tree. I even talked myself into biking it home — another adventure in their weird things I cart around on my bike instead of using my perfectly functioning car.

As I pedalled around the traffic — you can sense the stress even from outside the cars — I thought of the first time my parents decided to skip the tree. They gave a bunch of  excuses. They said we were all gone and they were alone and didn’t really need a tree. They didn’t like the pine needles. Etc.

I thought, “yeah, yeah…. LAME.” They gave me the just-you-wait-and-see-when-you-are-old-buddy look.

Now, hear I was thinking they might just be on to something.

When the first store I went to had no trees, I knew I had to suck it up. The bike ride with the tree was now going to dodge some serious traffic. The plan was unravelling.

And then I had a thought.

“EFF this.”

I pedaled home. No tree. Cross that one off the list for good now. I told myself I was evolved and this was fine and the house looks great and the food is bombdiggity and the games will be fun and the kids will gripe but get over it and maybe my parents knew a thing or two and…

Nah. It’s still lame. But there it is. Something had to give and this year, the tree was it. I put the presents in a corner and lovely as they look, it just isn’t right.

To tree or not to tree, that was the question. I got it all wrong.


PS… click below for a bit more on the Christmas tree musings and of course, the lovely Donna Reed:


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