Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tree Trimming = Brings Out the Worst

Is it just my family? I tell ya, when I was younger, and we didn't have kids, I trimmed the tree myself. We didn't have a lot of ornaments, and it was a relatively simple affair. But, I always dreamed of the Christmas-movie moments we'd later have as a family.... gathering around the tree, lovingly looking at all the ornaments, placing them gently on the tree, sipping cider or egg nog, with Christmas carols playing in the background - quality family time.... special moments.

I remember trimming the tree as a kid - it seemed fun.

I don't know.... as much as we LOVE the Christmas holidays, trimming the tree at our house always disintegrates into quarrels, hurt feelings, STRESS and, inevitably someone being sent to their room (even at ages 16, 17, and 20). What is wrong with us?

It starts out great. The hubby has always taken the kids to cut a tree, and they always come back happy, had a great time. I love sitting home, waiting for them to bring me my tree. Then we oooh and aahhh over what a good one it is, and they bring it into the house. This is where it starts to go bad. Control freak that I am, the lights have to go on first. That's really my only rule - really it is, but the lights HAVE to go on first. And, no one will do it but me. I'd gladly relegate this job to anyone else, and the Bud will sometimes start to string them, but then gives up. Not a fun job. So, they all HOVER while I get the lights on. Not so patiently I might add. But, it's still okay at this point, The kids are all opening their own boxes full of personal ornaments, remembering them all, having fun still, and this part is pretty good.

Then, it gets ugly. I don't know why. Someone took someone else's "spot" on the tree. Someone else is clumping ornaments and not spreading them out to another person's specifications of perfect...., no one wants their ornament to go on the back of the tree...., someone won't get off the ladder and give some else a turn..., someone's not careful, someone bumps or drops someone else's ornament. Oy, ugly. And, these aren't normally horrible children... I'm not a yelling witch... most of the time.... Why? Why does it get ugly? Is it just us? By the time it's done, there's usually just me and one kid left, the one who held out the longest, and the others decide to come back later and finish, by themselves. The hubby has usually gone off and hidden in the garage by the time it's over. It's not fun.

However, AFTER it's all done, everyone loves the tree. The Bud hangs out in the living room and reads under the tree. The girls walk around it many times a day, "remember this one? - I remember when I got this one!" -reminiscing, and loving the ornaments. The kids can't wait until their ornament for this year turns up in the advent calendar. We really love the tree and all the special ornaments. We have a family tree, full of family ornaments, all personal to someone or some memory. Not at all themed or designer, but very special to us. We love the tree, just not putting it up.

Okay - we'll try again this year. While they're out picking the tree, I'll put on the carols, heat the cider, and be on my best patient and loving behavior, and we'll try and make a memory out of it, a NICE memory. Tree day is Saturday.... wish us luck. I'll let you know.

Okay - I gotta say, I'm loving the Sock Garden yarns. This one is Pansy, and the picture is very true to color, at least on my monitor. I love the way it's knitting up! Can't show you more, because they're a gift, although I don't think the giftee is a reader of this blog, but you never know. Very pretty though... and the best part is, I think I may have enough left to make footies for myself - bonus!

Well, one sock down, and I'll cast on the other tomorrow. I'm already looking forward to my next project, but more on that later.... as slow as I knit, I'll talk about that next entry.... because you're gonna get tired of looking at partial pictures of half-knit pansy socks... and that's all I've got going right now. I've made myself put the Branching Out scarf on hold until I finish the socks.... and believe me, the scarf is sitting here on my desk... calling to me. No, must resist.


At 5:36 PM, Blogger keohinani said...

no, yours isn't the only family like that. mine used to be, but our tree fell over one year and most of our ornaments broke. not cuz of the fighting; it wasn't hooked into the tree holder thingie very well.
man, i love the smell of christmas trees. that's when you know it's christmas around the corner :)
btw, starfish did at one point have some little girl groupies, but he avoids mentioning them. the friends of my girl wrestlers would look for them in the weight room and comment about starfish. i wouldn't hear from him about them, but i'd hear from my girls. i'd tease him and say "starfish, you better watch out for jail bait!" if you met him in person, then you'd so crack up. he's so focused in the weight room that it could be on fire and he wouldn't know; he'd just think it was really hot and he was working out pretty hard.

At 5:42 PM, Blogger LC in Sunny So Cal said...

Girlfriend, just slip a little "something" into your cider while the crew is out cutting down the tree. By the time they get back, you won't even CARE if they are in a wrestlin' match on the floor over whose goes where!

Personally, I think I'd just disappear into the garage with the hubster and TWO cups of cider. Kids' SPLEENS BE DARNED!!!

At 6:30 PM, Blogger candsmom said...

Your post is so funny! I was actually planning to blog about the same topic next time I post. In our house, it's the getting the tree that leads to the WWF smackdown. Once we get that part over with, the tree trimming is usually a pretty peaceful and happy event. And I'm totally with you on the lights having to go on first. I like lc's idea about extra "spirit" in the cider and spleen damaging the kids, too. ;-) Your Pansy secret gift looks beautiful!!

At 7:41 PM, Anonymous heather said...

ugh. The dreaded tree. We put ours up this past weekend, and it was one big fight.
I too, always have to put the lights on, and I hate that part. So I was trying to hurry all quick-like, and after an hour of stringing, I finished. Stepped back to plug them in, and I realized I put them on backwards. The plug was at the top. Dumbass.

Good luck, and I agree, slip something yummy in your cider or nogg, and enjoy the moment. It is Xmas and all. Ho ho ho

At 7:42 PM, Blogger amylovie said...

I third LC's suggestion.

This was the first year my girls really "got" the Christmas tree. It went pretty smoothly, but there is always next year.


At 8:22 PM, Blogger Cherice said...

Oy! I bought our permit to go into the mountains and cut down a tree, and it has snowed, and snowed and been so cold that I'm wondering what I was thinking when I bought the permit. Saturday or Sunday afternoon we'll head up into the mountains, my husband will complain about trudging through the snow and the fact that no one can agree on a tree. It will be fun if it kills me (we go through this just about every year). My kids do fairly well with the hanging of the ornaments, only small squables. Even when my older ones (18 and 15) were little they did fairly well with decorating the tree. Now that I've said that we'll have a tree decorating war on our hands this weekend!!

At 10:14 PM, Blogger Donna Boucher said...

Some families can make every situation a character building one...he he he

just like ours :o)


At 6:19 AM, Blogger Sonya said...

Ah, Christmas tree stress. Nearly universal, I think. My husband and I cut our tree for our first Christmas together. Funny how small they can look in the woods and how absolutely ginormous in your living room.

Definitely, spike the cider. That pansy yarn is gorgeous BTW.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Chris said...

oh, oh, oh - I love that pansy sock! And I am way happy that I have two skeins of pansy to make socks for me.

And your cat Carmen (from your comment on my blog) sounds like Chaos's long lost sister. :)


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