Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Santa Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

My Teeny Tree 

On our last Christmas in 2005 Jimmy gave in and we got an artificial tree.  This was a huge moment for a man who had insisted for 33 years, “If we have a fake tree, what’s next? Fake food?”
Not only did the tree have to be real – it had to be gigantic – wide, full and tall, like a plus size woman with branches.  Our first two Christmases were in our studio apartment with an average ceiling height so we made up for it with a tree so wide that when we opened our sleeper couch each night the needles hung over our feet.
It took us years before we had a house that fit the tree and I have to admit that when we finally maneuvered the tree to just the right viewing angle it was magnificent.  It made a statement. And, the statement wasn’t ‘I have a small dick” believe me.
It was “I love this holiday because it represents family, food and friends and as Jimmy would say abbondanza! (Italian for abundance) He couldn’t get enough of all three.
It was a tradition for our family to go to the nursery together to pick out a tree and each year we looked forward to it being playful, joyful, and filled with eggnog delight.
I have no idea why that Norman Rockwell picture kept reappearing in each of our heads because the reality was that every year Jacki whined it was freezing and Dougie ran ahead and tripped over the tree stumps and Jimmy and I fought and shouted,’ let’s just pick something – anything  and get it home already!”
But, now in 2005 with the kids on their own and our little granddaughter just 20 months old, we found ourselves agreeing, You know, the fake trees today look real.  Maybe, 30 years of our feet finding a needle in May still buried in the carpet has been enough fun for us.
So, there we stood side-by-side in the now defunct Fortunoffs staring at rows of plastic trees decorated right out of a page of Home & Garden.  The piped in Christmas Music played and we hummed and mumbled some of the words here and there, aware, very aware that an era was over.
We questioned whether it was the trees on display were that gorgeous or was it the fabulous ornaments that the store decorator had used.
“If we hung these Lalique ornaments on my ugly Aunt Josephine and dressed her in green with her arms spread out even she would look Christmasy and beautiful too” Jimmy said.
We bought one, anyway.  It came in three pieces complete with stand. Easy breezy. When New Years rolled around, we put it back in the storage bag and there it sat waiting on a shelf in the garage for the next holiday season.
But, when the next Christmas came and my husband was gone I couldn’t put up the tree.  The following year I did, grateful that we had bought it together.  I didn’t have to buy the fake one and break our tradition alone.  It’s so silly what we think sometimes because by then, so much more, of course, was broken.
It’s year six this year and today I took out some old decorations and bought some new ones and placed them in different parts of the house and since neither Christmas Eve or Christmas Day will be here I put up a teeny little tree (pictured above)
I told my dog Tony “You see this tree, Ton?  That used to be the size of our top.”  Then, I scooped him up and even though Christmas music still stings a bit we danced together to I’ll Be Home for Christmas.