Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Tree That Almost Wasn't

Having grown up Jewish, I'd never had or decorated a Christmas tree. This changed when I was an adult, and I helped to decorate a tree or two. When Craig & I got together, we got a little "Charlie Brown" fake tree for Christmas time and put our presents there. And when Mia was 4, we bought a fake tree at Target. Craig wanted to give her the whole experience, just like he'd had it. I admit - it was fun - yet the whole experience was a little lacking because I'd never experienced it all as a child - only from the parent side. When Mia was 5, Craig was overseas for the 3rd time. I gave her Christmas since she'd remembered it from the year before; that's what a good wife I am. Pretty classic; a bunch of Jews decorating a tree the day after Thanksgiving (except our friend Nick who came over too - so thankfully we could have some guidance).

This year we bought a real tree for the first time. For several reasons; we left the fake one in storage, and thankfully so - we would have no place to store it here. Real trees are quite reasonable here - the 5 1/2' tree was $26!! Craig tells me (and I know) that's a STEAL. And if we're going to have one, I was a little excited to have a real one - piney smell, living thing and all. Though admittedly with my "brown thumb" I was nervous about that. Neighbors & friends here spoke of how their trees died after a week, but you have to get them fast because they arrive on one day - and then they're GONE.

So coincidentally, on the same day I picked up the gelt & candles from the Rabbi's office, I went to the outdoor store on Camp Foster to ask when trees would be coming. They informed me that on Saturday, December 1st, they'd be for sale, and the store opened at 9. I had a shoot that morning, so I told Craig to take Mia and pick up a tree. His deal anyway, so maybe it'd be fun! Thankfully he agreed without argument.

After my shoot I asked about the morning, and Craig said, "Wow, I'm REALLY glad we got there when we did. The tree was inexpensive, and we picked a nice one - but that place was crazy!"

Apparently he arrived home with the tree and our neighbor, Chuck, saw him and said, "Where did you get that!?"
"Go NOW, Chuck." Replied Craig as he brought the tree up the elevator, with "oohs" and "ahhs" from our hotel staff! Chuck returned with a tree for his family and for our neighbors' family and said there were 10 left when he went. And yes - that was the only shipment that would be coming. Kind of sad, really - I'm certain that not everyone who wanted a tree on this island got one - they were out of fake ones too. (Side note, I thought of an idea - if we had brought our tree, there's no way we could've found a place to store it with 3 small closets that are already full - how about a holiday tree- put up Valentine's Day decorations, Easter ornaments, 4th of July - you get the point! So you never have to put it away!)

So I helped him assemble it in the stand we're borrowing from Anne & Derek (they'll be in the states this holiday, so they didn't get a tree) and we got it up and fed it and watered it and the following day (Sunday) we decorated it while enjoying hot cocoa and we were happy.

Until I realized that it wasn't drinking. And after surveying the moms at the school bus stop, apparently those trees sit on ships for close to a month, and we need to have the bottom sawed off when we purchase it! Fabulous.

"CRAIG! You grew up on your grandparents' farm, they RAISE Christmas trees! How do you not know this!??"
"We always cut them fresh for people who picked them, why would I know that?"
"Well dang, you should've known better than ME... please buy a saw and I'll take off the decorations." Sigh.

Craig sawed an inch off the bottom of the slightly browning thirsty tree on Tuesday night. I added water and the 3 of us talked to the pretty tree and asked it to drink and stick around through the holidays. Thankfully, she listened and she's very happy now and drinking, I'm proud to say. Crisis averted!

When we first brought her home:

Mia & I began hanging garland:

Lights are in...

Ornament time - goofy girl:

Topped the tree!

One of my favorites I found 2 years ago:

Uncle Jake made, yes MADE this for Craig when he was overseas. It's so detailed & incredible. I cannot imagine the amount of cussing that probably happened over this little glass bulb.

One of my ornaments - Wendi gave it to me.

Got this at Cost Plus last year - I do love to bake!
Happy holidays, everyone! More on the latest holiday haps soon.

No comments: