The day we caught glimpse of our home's great room, my husband immediately began to dream about the Christmas trees we would set there in the future. I knew at that moment, there was no way for me to truly imagine what I had in store for myself. As usual, I was right.
Christmas 2006 was our first in the house. Doug was almost as pumped about the tree in our future as he was about the birth of our third child. He actually went out to buy the tree a week before Ivy was born. Of course he decided it was too early to drag the honkin' tree in our house, so it sat next to our house. Two days after the purchase, the wind really picked up and the tree ripped the drainpipe off of the side of our house when it fell. My friend Jolie, who is all of 4'11'' showed up and attempted to prop it back up. Well, the tree was twice her size, so she came in to the house to ask for my assistance. Ha! I was lucky to walk without grunting. There was no way that we would be getting that tree up. Without the help of my neighbor that thing would have stayed on the ground...with our drainpipe until Doug made his way home.
Ivy was born on the night of December 7th. Twenty-four hours, and very few minutes later, Doug, Ivy and I were headed home. Little did I know what Doug's plans were for our first day home. Forty-eight hours after the birth of sweet baby Ivy, I was sitting on the couch (no doubt wincing as my infant was gnawing on me in an attempt to get nourishment) watching our ten foot tall decorated Christmas tree. I thought to myself..."is this bizarre or am I just hormonal?" After Christmas 2007, I can answer that with no hesitation.
When buzz about the new Sams tree began, I figured we would undoubtedly be seeing another 10 footer. Next thing I knew, Doug had his nurses calling around town for an 18 foot Christmas tree. It only took Doug a day to decide that would be too big. He said that he would need to find something smaller, as our ceilings were only 18 feet high. I, however, believe that he got a good old fashioned case of sticker shock and decided that $350 delievered was too much. A couple days later, his nurse had found him a $75, 14 foot Christmas tree out in Sunbury...just a short 45 minute trip.
At this point I just kept my mouth shut. I am not going to be the one to ruin his fun. I figure, I will just let him deal with this monster tree. It wasn't until the tree farm called to ask if we still wanted the tree (as it was originally the a nearby city’s tree), that I began to sweat this whole idea. Doug immediately became manic. He gets to have the city’s town square tree in his home?!? It was apparent that he was not going to be calm until he had the tree in our house. He looked at me with his puppy dog eyes and asked if he could go get it. Of course I tell him to go ahead, but I wasn't going to be tagging along.
Images of Clark Griswold were dancing in my head as he headed out with Violet and Lily. He had to assure me about 3000 times that the kids would be safe with the 14-foot tree tied to the top of the mini-van despite the torrential downpour. Sure enough 2 hours later, I still had a family of five with the addition of one ridiculously large Christmas tree.
It took my dad and Doug to get the tied up tree through the front door. It took my dad, Doug, 4-year-old Violet and I to get the soaking wet tree into the great room without permanently damaging my carpet (Violet assisted by holding a blanket beneath Godzilla, as we drug it). The kids were higher than three kids after a birthday party. In addition to that my mom was being a complete Grinch, so I sent my mom to give them a bath so we could attempt to get the tree in the stand. Luckily the three of us were able to raise the tree fairly easily and the kids survived the bath despite the fact that I had to ask my mother to stop leaving them unattended. She was just so impressed by my one-year-old's ability to go under the water without crying and she was really curious about the tree...she couldn't help herself.
Later that night, Doug came to me a said he was surprised that I wasn't more upset about the tree. Upset? Where would that get me? He then went on to admit that the tree was a bit ridiculous. All I could do was laugh, pop some popcorn, sit on the couch, and wait for Doug to start decorating. My, was that entertainment! After two nights of Doug throwing lights, Doug standing on the second to last rung of the ladder holding a 3 foot long stick to hang ornaments, Violet, Lily, and Ivy all trying to help during waking hours, we had a fully decorated Christmas tree. Of course our puny star was a bit crooked, but I wasn't going to say anything. It added character.
At this point, my only rule was that Doug use the shop vac to clean up needles. 2006’s 10 foot tree broke the vacuum cleaner and permanently marked our white carpet, so I thought that it would only be reasonable to give the new vacuum cleaner a month-long vacation from the great room. Doug agreed, so the month of December went rather smoothly.
I must admit, the tree was beautiful and it was amusing to witness the expressions of children and adults alike that came to visit our tree. Even the pizza man said it was the biggest tree he had ever seen inside a house. Little kids were awed by the sight of the tree. Violet was excited to know that she would be able to see the top of the tree if she just climbed to the top of the stairs. It wasn't even difficult for Doug to get the tree out of the house. He and a friend cut off the branches until about 7 feet from the ground, and then they easily walked it out the front door. The mess of needles wasn't so bad. It only took an hour or so with the shop vac (no stains this time). I am not sure that is a good thing. Secretly, I was hoping that the tree would be such a pain in the rear to haul out that Doug would never want to do it again. As Christmas season approaches, I can’t help but wonder what to expect of 2008’s treescapades.