The Great Christmas Tree Trauma of 2010

Christmas 2008

The 20 Prospect clan put up our Christmas tree this past weekend. I guess it has become tradition that the tree goes up over Thanksgiving weekend in an effort to stop Lil’ Miss 20 Prospect, and 20 Prospect Jr. from begging to put up the Christmas decorations. Seriously, they started begging the day we took down the Halloween ones.

We had been planning to get a “real” tree this year, something that we haven’t done in about 8 years. As much as we like the smell, and the look of a real tree, Mrs. 20 Prospect and I are pathetically pragmatic, and don’t like the hassle and the expense. So we have had a fake tree that we bought at a K-Mart in about 1996, aside from one year when we went out and cut down our own tree with the kids. Lil Miss 20 P. was about 4 at the time, and 20 Prospect Jr. was around 3. I still have a photo of us standing next to the unlucky tree, with 20 P Jr. holding a saw and grinning from ear to ear, while Lil’ Miss 20 P. is in my arms sobbing that we are killing a tree.

Yes, the fruit does not fall far from the tree.

So our plan was to go out and cut down a tree on Saturday, until we decided to stay an extra day in Eau Claire and spend more time with our family. So began the trials and tribulations of the Great Christmas Tree Trauma of 2010.

While we were in Eau Claire we helped both Grandma, and my Brother in Law the Father, put up their fake trees. My BIL had just purchased a pre-lighted fake tree from HOM furniture, so that got Mrs. 20 P. and I to thinking. Our old K-Mart special has been shedding branches for years, and has never been an easy tree to put together. Watching my BIL put his tree up in 30 minutes sure looked like a much better way than thaking 3 hours to assemble the erector set Christmas tree we have. So on the drive back to Minnesota on Saturday we offered to the kids to go out and get a new fake tree.

So began the negotiations…

Lil Miss 20P – “But I thought we were going to get a real tree this year?”

20P Jr. – “Yeah, why can’t we get a real tree?”

Mrs. 20P – “Look kids, it’s already Saturday afternoon. If you want to go out and cut a real tree, we can’t do it until tomorrow, and then we won’t have any time left to decorate it this weekend.”

Lil Miss 20P – “Can’t we just put up our old one instead?”

Me – “Honey, our old tree is falling apart. It really is time to replace it.”

Lil Miss 20P – (tearing up) “But I like our old fake tree. It’s our tradition”

Mrs. 20P – “Honey, it’s a fake tree. It will be the same tradition to put up a new one.”

20P Jr. – “Can I have the cardboard box from the old tree?”

Me – “No. Why do you want the box?”

20P Jr. – “To make an airplane”

Me – “No. We need it for the tree”

20P Jr. – “But aren’t we giving it away?”

Me – “Yes, but we’ll give it away in the box.”

Lil’ Miss 20P – (wailing) “You can’t give our tree away! It’s our tree!”

And so the conversation went for the hour and a half drive home.

Lately the two of them can’t agree about anything, and neither of them can agree with us. So it wasn’t really a surprise that by the time we left to go to the store it was now 20P Jr. insisting that the old tree was too dear to part with, and Lil’ Miss 20P who was excited to get to pick out a new one. It didn’t get any easier in the store.

Lil Miss 20P -“I want one with short needles”

20P Jr. – “I want one with long needles”

Me – “Kids, let’s just see what they have.”

20P Jr. – “I want one with white lights”

Lil Miss 20P – “You’re color blind, what do you care?”

20P Jr. – “I just like white lights!”

Mrs. 20P. – “We are getting colored lights. Your father and I like colored lights.”

20P Jr. – “I want the black one”

Me – “No. We are not getting a black tree. Now the silver one, that one is beautiful. I would love to have a silver tree like my Grandma did when I was little…”

Mrs. 20P, Lil Miss 20P., & 20P Jr. – (in unison) “NO!!!!!”

Lil’ Miss 20P – “Please can we have this one”

20P Jr. – “No, that one’s ugly. I like this one.”

Note to self. Leave the kids at home when shopping.

After 30 minutes of deliberation, we decided on a tree that 20P Jr. loved, and Lil Miss 20P called “The ugliest Christmas tree that ever was”. In the end we bought her off with the promise of a revolving tree stand.

By 9pm on Saturday night it stood in our front window in all its revolving, multi-colored glory. It’s a nice looking fake tree, there’s just one small problem.

I don’t like it.

I have to admit our old K-mart tree was prettier. In fact, I’ve yet to see any tree that I liked more than our old K-mart tree. Well, with the exception of that glittering aluminum jet-age tree of my youth. So unless I go out and buy an aluminum tree, or go back to using the old Kmart one, it’s going to continue to bug me.


12 thoughts on “The Great Christmas Tree Trauma of 2010

    • Lovely tree Gunnar. My favorite part about the Christmas tree are the stories behind the ornaments. They are like little time capsules we get to break into once a year.

  1. The wonders I have to look forward to if/when I have kids. There may be drama between the lady friend and I, as this is the first Christmas we spent living together. She has the same Thanksgiving weekend tradition for putting up the fake tree. I thought it was a little early, but we did it anyway.

    Now I don’t know how to tell her I think her tree is ugly… it’s too skinny. We’ll have to cross that bridge next year.


  2. NO ONE in my family is allowed to say ANYTHING about the Christmas tree because I pick it, haul it home, wind forty thousand strings of multicolored lights around it while still fretting that it’s not SPARKLY enough and then unveil it with a chorus of angels singing in the backround.
    There couldn’t be more bluster and nonsense surrounding it’s presentation if Kim Jong-il was there performing military exercises and declaring it the BEST TREE EVER.
    I am the de facto leader of Christmas in my house and NO ONE challenges this pint sized dictator of holiday cheer.

  3. i call trickery. like the before and after weight loss photos. you intentionally made that 2008 tree photo more stylish and homey and hi-res. while the 2010 tree photo is very blurry and alone without presents. how am i to aptly judge?

    ok, i like dufmanno’s tree. i’m afraid not to.

    • Sorry for the Zapruder like photo quality on the new tree. I was lazy and took the picture with my cell phone. Plus the tree was spinning, so maybe that’s why it was blurry.

      Wise choice on patronizing Duffmano. At least until she gets her shot of Thorazine.

  4. Well, I think your tree is beautiful. Even if it’s not real, not black, and has multi-colored lights. The story of getting it is priceless.

    Our tree is also artificial, and falling apart, but we squeaked it through one more year. We’ll see what happens when we unpack it next season…

  5. The old one we got from Kmart (remember that store?) on clearance for $50 or something and the tree stand we got for $2 at a garage sale… We finally bit the bullet and bought a better, still artificial tree (because I am very practical, and also manly) about 3 years ago. Yeah. I love hearing stories of people actually going out into the woods, preferably in their backyard (a la Sarah “I can see Russia” Palin), picking a tree, hacking it and hauling it home. Love imaging myself in that scenario because, well, I am a manly man. Note the word “Imagine” because I am also very practical and rational.

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