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Tree trimming progress report

Tree trimming in the Fitzgerald Family took place the last Sunday in Advent, unless that fell on Christmas Eve in which case we decorated the tree the Sunday before. I've not kept that tradition in adulthood. The tree goes up when it goes up. These days, it doesn't even go up every year, much as I like it when it does. A few years ago, I bought a pre-lit artificial tree, thus saving me the annoyance of getting the tree straight in the stand and anchored to the ceiling and/or walls as well asa few hours of stringing lights (lots and lots and lots of lights). I never liked either of those tasks, much as the latter became significantly less painful when I discovered Fraser Firs. As the Fraser Fir wikipedia page says:
Fraser Fir is widely used as a Christmas tree. Its mild fragrance, shape, strong limbs, and ability to retain its soft needles (which do not prick easily when hanging ornaments) for a long time when cut make it one of the best trees for this purpose.

The Fitzgerald Family tree was most often a Blue Spruce. They're pretty, but they prick like hell. A Fraser Fir tends to be pricy, and I haven't yet found a tree lot I'm inclined to return to anywhere nearby. And weaving 1500 or so lights through the tree was still a lot of work. So I went artificial, finding it better than no tree at all.

The tree is up this year and all of the lights are plugged in and working. It's even beginning to look like it may get decorated.

On Wednesday, email to my sister included this tidbit:

Six bins and six boxes of decorations plus 1 plastic gingerbread boy moved from flamingo loft into house. One box of decorative lights and two tinsel garlands left in flamingo loft. I do declare that this is the year I'm going to get rid of decorations I no longer want. Or, at the very least, I will put them in bins marked "Don't Bother!" as well as "Christmas" -- Famous Last Words....

Friday night, in describing my Christmas tree to a friend, I wrote:

The angel, made by Auntie Bun (my great-aunt, godmother, and co-founder of Twinzy Toys) goes on first, before any decorations are hung. So I have to search the bins and boxes to find it.

Saturday night, I cleared off the coffee table so as to use it as a staging area for the individual boxes of ornaments inside all those bins. And because clean. I moved all the bins and boxes into the living room and set up the ladder so as to be able to reach the top of the tree. Then I opened one bin, then another, and another, until I'd looked in each. There wasn't a square-topped box labeled "Angel (Tree top) in any of them. Uh-oh.

Instead of being sensible and taking it as a sign that it was well past time to go to bed, I thought a bit and climbed the stairs to the Flamingo Loft over the garage. Sure enough, there were two more bins marked "Christmas" sitting apart from where the other Christmas bins and boxes had been. Huh. I thought all the bins I used last year never made it beyond the landing at the bottom of the stairs, yet here they were.

Oh. That's right. I didn't put the tree up last year. I piled gifts in the chair I have to move to make room for the tree, and let that be enough. That doesn't explain the bins at the bottom of the Flamingo Loft stairs, but life's just a mystery, y'know?

At least the Mystery of the Missing Angel is solved. She's back in her natural habitat.

Angel in her natural habitat.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 22nd, 2013 12:34 pm (UTC)
Over the years, we've developed a routine. Jack puts up the (artificial) tree and strings the lights. I put on the ornaments, working with the most fragile ones first so I don't rush putting them on. The shabby old ones go in the back; the solid, indestructible ones go near the bottom, and the smaller go near the top. Miss Piggy (dressed as an angel) goes on top.

Most of our ornaments are one of a kind now: many purchased at crafts shows or received as gifts. It's a pleasant time of rediscovery. Since I also undress the tree, I am fairly methodical about where I put things in the bankers boxes so I don't have to search each year.

I love your angel.
Dec. 22nd, 2013 07:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I love my angel, too. She's lost some of the silver stars on her netting over the many decades of her existence. Her halo is made of two pieces hand-cut from brass sheet metal. She has a shiny white dress under the netting. I chose this picture because I liked how the Balinese flying frog that lives in the corner of the room is keenly observing the angel's arrival.

It took me decades to decide the shabby ornaments don't have to go on the tree at all. If they still touch my heart, sure, their condition matters less. But I have far more ornaments I adore than fit on even the most ornament-friendly tree that fits in my house. (If I ever move to a home with 20' ceilings, I might be in trouble, but probably not.)

I'm totally with you on the pleasures of rediscovery and wish I were as methodical as you are when it comes to undressing the tree. Love that phrasing for it! I've always used "taking down the tree" for the whole process.

Your Miss Piggy angel tree topper sounds charming! Picture?
Dec. 22nd, 2013 12:51 pm (UTC)
Your angel is so sweet! And all the more so for being from a special member of your family. That's what I miss the most in the years (like this one) when we don't have a tree -- getting to go through all the old family ornaments and touch each of them and the memories they hold.

We always got a balsam fir, for the amazing fragrance, when I was growing up. These days, my parents have gone artificial, but my mom still lights a balsam fir candle, because it's not Christmas until it smells like Christmas...
Dec. 22nd, 2013 02:46 pm (UTC)
Dec. 22nd, 2013 03:55 pm (UTC)
She's beautiful!
Dec. 23rd, 2013 01:57 am (UTC)
Different places, different traditions. In the UK, Christmas trees tend to go up in early December (well, apart from many retail places which now put them up as soon as staff have time after removing the [now horribly Americanised - we used tohave our own traditions butthey got overwhelemed by the colonial cousin's] Halloween decorations). In my family it was always the first weekend in December. Every night my father would turn on the lights when it got dark andswitch them off before going to bed. Except Christmas Eve when they would be left on overnight to guide Father Christmas :-). When I was a pre-teen he would hang chocolate ornaments as well as sparkly ones and my brother and I got to eat one from the tree every night after the lighting ceremony.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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