O New Year's Tree, O New Year's Tree...
I didn't exactly miss Christmas, but I definitely wasn't "prepared" to fully participate in the holiday festivities. From the day after Thanksgiving until around December 20, I got lost. Lost in a family emergency, a two week battle with something akin to the flu, work-related issues and disappointments, and general lethargy.
I generally don't get caught up in that "Are you ready for Christmas?" mentality. I see Christmas not as something to get ready for, but as something to celebrate. But I like a cozy, decorated house and baked goods and those lovely things. So some amount of preparation and work is involved.
I barely bought presents for my loved ones this year. (The whole subject of gift-giving mania is another topic I could rant about. Sometimes it just feels like we might as well all swap money and be done with it. It shouldn't be that way.)
But the real kicker is that we didn't even put up a tree this year. I love Christmas trees. A big, live, piney tree in the middle of my living room. I'm a big believer and proponent of live trees. I have friends that say "Our apartment is too small for a tree." To them I say: Bah! Nonsense! There is always room for a tree. Move a table; put a chair in bedroom. There is always room for a tree.
But James worked a billion hours in the wretched world of retail, and we never made it to the tree place. Plus, we have this crazy cat named Cheska. She just won't stop getting into things. (As I write this she is trying to eat a Santa figurine that I never even took out of the box.) We feared for her life if she had access to a tree. So it all seemed like too much of a hassle and we didn't get one.
But then I felt sad about not getting a tree, so my brother (home from Arizona) and I went to the parking lot next to Ollie's discount store on December 23 to see what was left. We ended up stuffing this giant tree into the backseat of our dad's Cadillac and laughing hysterically. It's one of my best memories of this holiday season. There was no tree lot attendant, so we decided that the leftover trees were free for the taking. Several other people stopped by and wondered if it would be okay just to take a tree. They said that nobody was working there earlier in the day when they'd stopped the first time. So we decided, "I'll take one if you take one." David and I talked about pretending that he was the lot attendant and making some extra cash, but that just seemed wrong.
The plan was to string the tree with lights and put it out on my deck. At least we could see it through the double doors. Christmas Eve came and went. Christmas Day came and went. Boxing Day came and went. I figured we'd put it up on the 27th anyway, so we could use it as a New Year's party accessory. But then James got cold feet about mixing electricity and water and worried that the outdoor outlets aren't ground-fault-interrupted-protected or whatever they need to be not to short out.
We toyed with the idea of putting the tree inside, but here it is December 29, and the free, giant tree sits in my garage, denied its Christmas glory. It died in vain.
Maybe I'll throw caution to the wind and put it up tomorrow. After all, this is my house. I can have a January tree if I want. I'll just have to invest in some bitter apple spray and scat mats to save Cheska from herself. (Side note: When you search for "Christmas trees" on Target.com, the results include scat mats. Apparently I am not alone in my Christmas cat dilemma.