December 4, 2018

Tree trimming conundrum

My wife and I go through this every December.  When is the best or most convenient, or proper time to trim the tree?  For a couple of years, when the cat was a bit younger, we didn’t have the 7 foot tree set up, because he (the cat) decided that the lower branches needed fixing, and desired to pull them down and lay on them (we have an artificial tree).  Consequently, my wife purchased a smaller (predecorated) tree and we set that up on a box in front of the large window in the living room and used that as our Christmas tree.  After enduring that for a couple of years, we tried again with the larger tree, and for the most part, kitty has left it alone.  Sure, he occasionally bats at some of the larger balls on the lower branches every now and again, but at least he hasn’t tried to climb the tree, or worse yet dismantle it.  A 20 lb cat can be rather murderous on an artificial tree, no matter how good a base it has.

Getting back to the question at hand, when’s the optimal time to decorate your tree?  From my youth, I remember vaguely doing it on a Saturday or Friday night usually, since Dad was home from work and didn’t work weekends (he was an engineer at IBM).  We’d get out the Christmas albums from his record collection, cue up the stereo, Mom & Dad would troop up to the attic to fetch the decorations, and my brother and I would, either with or without Mom or Dad, go to the basement to get the lights and garland.  We always had a live tree, cut fresh at a Christmas tree farm in Red Hook, NY.  The place is still there today, though the price of trees has gone up significantly.  The last time we bought a tree was probably 1984, and then we paid $25 for it.  I believe the farm is selling them for $75 presently, though there are a lot more people from NYC buying trees and either using them in their Hudson Valley secondary homes, or shipping them down to the city to use in their over-priced apartments and townhouses.

But the timing needs to be right.  Decorating it too early causes it to get stale (like overplayed Christmas music), and doing it too late doesn’t allow you sufficient time to enjoy the spectacle of a fully decked out tree.  Too, considering that you’re putting a lot of effort in getting out the decorations, arguing about how much garland (or not) to put on the tree and a dozen other decisions, you don’t want to spend too many hours before it’s time to separate yourself from your loved one(s), and just spend a little time with the pets, since generally they don’t tell you that you have too many red balls on the left side of the tree.  So it can be a bit of a juggling act at times.  A little patience goes a long way!

I remember one time that my Dad suggested after a contentious row amongst him, Mom and my brother and I, that it might be prudent to cut a hole in the ceiling of the family room, hook the tree to some sort of pulley system, and just hoist it into the attic and lower it every December.  Considering it was a live tree, that wouldn’t have worked out very well in the long run!  But it still tickles me when I think about him suggesting it.

I asked my wife this past weekend when she thought would be a good time to decorate.  Her reply was ‘whenever you want to drag the tree upstairs….’  Well, that certainly settles that!  I’m pretty settled on doing it this coming weekend.  Close enough to the holiday, but not too far away from 12th night, when we’ll be taking it down. (12th night for us is Jan 6, 2019 fwiw)

I wonder where the wreath is?

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