To tree or not to tree….sorry!

by Anna Buckley

IMG_4925[1]It’s 2 weeks till Christmas and we’ve been debating whether it’s really worth having a tree and here is why…

1-Do we want to shell out $90 to buy a perfect tall tree from the greengrocer?

2-Won’t be home on the weekend to collect tree from local charity.

3-Will we even be home on Christmas Day?

4-Kids are adults, daughter overseas…and don’t buy into the Santa thing.

5-Tree abandonment issues as we are going on holidays on the 27th…can I really be bothered packing all that shit up before we go?

6-Tree disposal issues…I really feel a bit sad when the naked tree is left on the kerb to be unceremoniously picked up as garbage.

7-Failed dismally at living, potted tree…I’ll explain later.

8-CAN’T BE BOTHERED!…and perhaps this is the real reason.

Xmas2013_001Last year I bought three elegant pencil pines and quite enjoyed their minimalist understatement. I had grand plans for a year of fertilising, watering and general nurturing that would most certainly result in a perfect trees for Christmas 2014.

IMG_4950[1]And so did the possums that chewed away the lower limbs leaving us with these scrawny specimens now relegated to the roof deck and looking, unconvincingly NOT like a scene from a Tuscan Villa.

IMG_4975[1]I thought about Christmases past and got a little sentimental remembering what we did when the kids were little. Thinking how cute it was that most of the decorations were clustered around the tight spot where little arms could reach.

IMG_4988[1]And this very, very hot Christmas in our new house, before the air conditioner was installed….and at about a time when the kids were getting very sceptical about the fat man in red coming down our non-existent chimney.

Xmas2006 012Or this elegant masterpiece waiting, presents wrapped… the last big Christmas before the kids grew up and left home.

1544595_10152144405040180_1868515875_n Or last year when my daughter spent her first white Christmas with her globetrotting Aunt in Mont Tremblant. We Skyped each other and talked about the snow in Canada and the heat wave and bushfires in Australia.

IMG_4929[1] I was still undecided and the sentimentality only reminded me of the chaos and exhaustion that is the reality of most Christmases.

My husband and I were driving out to buy wine, a most important part of celebrating, when we spotted a sign,’POTTED CHRISTMAS TREES $59.’ We looked at each other, smiled and without words, turned the car around and bought the bloody tree, a bright green pot, to match the designer table, $24.95 and a bag of potting mix $9.95….

I tried to justify the purchase by telling myself that after the initial investment
of a ridiculous $93.90, for a tree the size of a champagne bottle, we would at least not have to spend a cent next year. And my husband said he’d build another perfectly cone-shaped cage to keep the possums out! Wire mesh..$24.95!

IMG_4990[1]So we get home and I pull out the gigantic bag of decorations, look inside and realise only the tiniest baubles would look right on the micro tree. After a trip to Kmart and 4 packets of baubles, $15.80, I’m finally ready to create this years ‘Martha would be proud’ masterpiece.

But the mood’s not right and I riffle through the pathetic collection of Christmas CDs and choose Bing and start to sing White Christmas…predicted weather for Christmas day, a sweltering, 40 degrees celsius (that would be over 100 Fahrenheit for those of you in the Northern hemisphere).

IMG_4941[1]For a brief moment I contemplate leaving the tree naked, it kind of looks good in a cool, minimalist way, but even my husband, the architect, looks at me as if I’m deranged…”You gotta decorate the thing!?”

I concede and begin with the lights. Almost 30 metres for a less than 1 metre tree. This time the architect says “Impossible” and I become determined to prove him wrong.

IMG_4936[1]I unwind the cable, watching it snake down the hallway and back again and seriously doubt whether it’s going to work. But I’m stubborn and on a mission. Slowly, starting from the top, I painstakingly wind the green flex around each little limb…coiling, tucking in, twisting until finally I reach the base. The tree is now mainly dark green flex and looks like a failed craft project.

IMG_4937[1]The architect shakes his head and makes some smart assed comment about the dangers of electricity and tightly wound cable. It’s at this point that I have a slight freak out…I hadn’t checked whether the lights even worked “Rule number one Mr Griswold…”

IMG_4939[1]So I flick the switch and Houston…we have lift off…or lights and, after a few minutes,… no electrical malfunction. I now very smuggly start to tease out each little branch till I manage to hide almost all the cable.

IMG_4940[1]I step back and look at my illuminated marvel, reluctant to tamper with its beauty, thinking that this could be a thing…a kind of living Christmas light…the hipsters would be gagging for it… until the architect says, “You gotta have baubles”. I compromise and choose just the chocolate and purple.

IMG_4945[1]And when I go to hang the baubles the long strings leave them drooping like old men’s testicles (or what I imagine such a thing would look like?!). Luckily I’ve just staked the tomatoes and use the green twists ties to more tightly attach the balls!

IMG_4949[1]And it does the trick perfectly.

IMG_4977[1]I test the lights once again, not wanting another Griswold moment.

IMG_5090[1]And much later, after the sun has set and it’s dark outside, get just a little bit sentimental, glad I made the effort and start to imagine what neat little presents I might buy to put under this sweet little tree…x