Sunday, December 19, 2010

In Which We Decorate the Tree

I like a real Christmas tree. I love the piney smell that wafts on the edge of the air in my snug little house. I love the tiny little white lights, glowing in the corner. I don't even mind the pine needles scattered all over the house, and I do mean all over thanks to the zoo, despite how much I dislike cleaning and vacuuming.

When I lived in my little junior 1-bedroom apartment, I would buy a table top tree, maybe 2 feet tall. The years Mother of Mossy was here for Christmas, I'd go a little bigger, maybe 4 feet. After a couple of years here in the Nest, the tree got bigger still. First 4 feet, then 4 and a half feet. Two years ago it was a respectable 5 feet tall and I decided that was the maximum height I'd go. After all, it was pretty dang difficult to smush a 5-ft tree into a little Civic at the tree lot, and even more difficult to smush a dried 5-ft tree into a Civic to take said tree to the county recycling point (they mulch the trees for the Parks and Recreation Department, so it's good all around).

Last year I didn't have a Christmas tree. No feeling sorry for me, Gentle Readers. I had just bought The E on Halloween, so there was no money in the Mossy Budget. I took the green felt that I wrap around the base of the tree and covered my little coffee table and put the presents that arrived by post on it. I still decorated, hanging my lihgts around the window instead of around a tree, hanging the stockings (of course the zoo all have stockings, need you ask?), and having Christmas as usual, just without a tree.

Mother of Mossy is visiting again this year, so we had to have a tree. But with Stinkerbelle's medical problems, I've been afraid to leave her alone, and I couldn't go alone to pick the tree. MoM likes to supervise, of course, and so no decision can be made regarding tree selection without her input. "Too big!" "Too small!" "The needles aren't right!"  Finally, on Thursday I took a half day off from work (this in itself will be a blog entry--my office was painted and carpeted and I'm redecorating! Hooray!) and we went to get The Tree. Except that we waited too long, so all the four- and five-foot Noble firs were gone (that's my favorite tree).

This year I have a six-foot tree (a Frasier fir, and what a nice shape it has). The Boys Chorus ( from whom I buy my tree every year as its their major fundraiser and even if its a slightly more expensive tree, I make room in my budget for their tree because I love helping those boys out) gave me the extra boughs which I tied together with some red yarn and a big red bow and hung on my door. I only have three strands of lights, so they're pretty thin on such a large tree but it still glows in its corner just the same. For the past 12 years or so I always decorated with paper snowflakes my niece A and MoM cut out for me and sent me many, many years ago. I love a tree with hand made decorations, and frankly, space is a premium in the Nest. Those gorgeous trees with hundreds of glass balls and tinsel everywhere and a foot-tall angel or star on top are gorgeous, but I only have two tiny closets in the Nest and there's no room to store glass ornaments. But there is room to store an envelope of paper snowflakes, and they made me feel connected to my family so far away.

But alas, last year I realized some of the snowflakes were starting to show their age. I carefully and lovingly  laid them away and over the course of this year have been buying felt and cookie cutters to make new decorations. They look like a five-year-old made them, which is about the level of my artistic ability, but I don't care. They are so homey and cheerful (and will be so easy to store). I love the red cardinal--it's my favorite. I made some blue ones from the cardinal template because the Western Blue Jay looks quite like the cardinal in silhouette, and, besides, in the Mossy Nest, birds come in any color or shape or size I want. I'm still not sure what to do about garland. Any suggestions, Gentle Reader? Remember, it has to be easily stored and safe for the zoo (even though, thankfully, none of my animals has ever expressed any interest whatsoever in the tree except to hide behind it or lay under it--no climbing, no chewing, no drinking the water or refreshing oneself on it--I'm quite lucky).

Herewith, my 2008 Christmas tree and my 2010 Christmas tree. I may just have to make some more birds for it. Happy Holidays!!!May the peace of the season linger all year.

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