We went to Home Depot last week to do something we hadn’t done in a long time. We bought a Christmas Tree! Not some "molded plastic and twisted metal perfectly formed cone shaped made in Taiwan with lights already installed (BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED) all you have to do is unfold it and plug it in" tree.
And not some poor innocent conifer severed from Mother Earth bleeding sap tree; a Clark Griswold hack job of a tree that at worst, in a week’s time will be a fire hazard and the entire apartment complex will be shivering cold and wet out in the parking lot at 3am on Christmas Eve, their faces lit by flames and illuminated by the flashing red lights of the Bedford Fire Department; or a tree that at best, in a month’s time will be rotting next to leftover fruitcake and banana peels at the local landfill.
For you dreamy idealists perhaps it will be chopped up into mulch to live eternally in communion as a living sacrament, the Body and Blood for Dogwoods and Daffodils,the promise of Christmas realized.
That’s not the kind of tree we bought either.
With a joyous heart we bought the prettiest little secular Norfolk Pine you ever did see!
It’s alive, and growing in a pot, and when Christmas is over it will be our companion. We shall water it, and it shall live on until next Christmas, and the Christmas after, providing us comfort and joy year round. And we bought some happy little twinkle lights to go on it, and ten teeny-tiny little glittery shiny gold bulbs to hang from its pretty branches.
Just 10 little ornaments, nothing gaudy or gauche, and we were excited.
It looked like it was going to be a great Christmas.
The first sign that things might not be as Fa-la-la-la-la as they looked was when we put our car in the shop the next day, and $1100.00 later realized that Christmas this year was going to be a little spare once again, just like last year, and the year before that. But we’ve learned to handle it. We make the best of things generally.
And since we suck so bad at buying gifts anyway (its well documented), it was almost a relief to be penniless. The pressure was off. At least, now we have an excuse for the sucky Christmas presents we will buy.
Who could blame us for a severe lack of funds?
So to cheer ourselves up last night we decided to decorate our Norfolk Pine.
First the lights!
As we opened the package, we started to take a better look at what we had bought.These weren’t just any Christmas lights. We were horrified to find the words“Martha Stewart” on the outside of the box.
And when we turned the box over, there she was, smiling at us that little millionaire convict smile, as if to say “Not only have I been to prison, I can cook better than you, and I’m rich.”. We can’t believe we bought Martha Stewart lights. Should we take them back? We look again at the box, maybe they were made in America. That would be a redeeming factor, and reason enough to keep them.There it is, in all caps…
MADE IN CHINA
We’ll get over it. They haven’t made Christmas lights in America since Nixon visited China. It’s not Martha Stewart’s fault any more than its Barack Obama’s fault,even though we have a feeling he is in on it, somehow.
The idea is to stay joyful and triumphant, right?
We string up the lights and open our pack of 10 little ornaments.
It’s the last straw. We are reminded why we hate Christmas.
There are no wire hangers.
How can they sell ornaments without hangers?
Have we become so desensitized and accustomed to batteries not being included that now we accept buying ornaments with no hangers?
Ten lousy hangers, that’s all we need.
We just can’t believe it.
How did it come to this? We cried for a little while, not so much for ourselves, or our tree, but for the world we live in where hangers are extra.
Against the current, we beat on.
We found some old Chinese speaker wire, and with a little Martha Stewart jailhouse improvisation managed to fashion some hangers, and now our Norfolk Pine stands decorated for Christmas in all its wonder.
Joyful and Triumphant baby, joyful and triumphant.
Only six more days to suck at shopping.