Photo by Rachael Brugger
It could have been a scene from Christmas Vacation. Uncle Eddie and his blue polyester suit were the only ingredients missing from my latest installment of homestead lunacy.
Like Chevy Chase’s character, I set out to create the perfect Christmas season for my family. Because this is more than likely my oldest son’s last Christmas season with us, I wanted to pull out all the stops, beginning with the perfect Christmas tree.
Normally getting home with the tree is a time of great excitement for everyone in the house. This year, however, my quest for perfection topped my husbands’ level of patience and exceeded my children’s attention spans. Let’s just say there might have been a small scene, and I might have just picked the largest of the 8 or 12 or so trees I had had my husband stand, fluff and rotate numerous times. This might have caused a little stress and might have not been the best way to pick a tree.
As I’m sure you can already imagine, the largest tree turned out to be too large. Luckily, my husband’s irritation turned into amusement. He was right about the tree height but has been married long enough not to come right out and say it. (He might have said something before check out about the tree being too big, but I simply plead the fifth on that one!)
But I digress. An hour or so and a wee bit of trimming later, I was standing in front of my massive beautiful tree sorting through wads of lights and happily singing along to my Christmas music. Because I don’t like anyone else doing the lights, my family had retired to the living room to watch a movie.
I really couldn’t tell you how it happened, but one minute I was hiding the wires in the tree and the next I was on the floor under the tree! My calls for help seemed to go unheard and I quickly realized my legs were soaking wet from the gallon of water I had put in the stand just an hour before. All I could think was “Great! I’m going to get electrocuted just like that stupid cat on Christmas Vacation!”
“Mom! The tree fell!” I hear little Jack say.
“Yes son I know! ” I reply, still under the tree! “Can you please go get Daddy?”
The next sound I hear is my husband’s full-belly guffaw followed by three more children stating the obvious: “The tree fell!” Needless to say, once the tree was secure, upright and in the stand, we called it a night.
The next day, I put all the lights on, my children placed all their ornaments on it, and once again I was embracing the holiday season. Hours later, as I cheerfully stood in the kitchen arranging snacks on my Christmas serving ware, my fully decorated tree came crashing down. Again! And I let it lay there for over an hour as I continued to serve snacks, hum carols, and step over broken ornaments and shattered bulbs. My children simply sat in silence with a look that could only be explained as “Uh-Oh! Mom’s finally lost it!”
My husband was the first to break the silence when he casually offered to help me with the tree if I needed it. My response? I burst into the chorus of “Silent Night,” and then went outside to be alone, cry and then eventually put on my big-girl panties.
I did take my husband up on his offer to help. Actually, I tried to do it myself originally, but even a ticked off redhead was no match for this beast. So I handed the job over to the men folk and went cyber shopping.
Thanks to my husband, a few power tools, a piece of plywood, some cinder blocks, and a couple of nuts, bolts and the like, my tree is now up, stable and fully redecorated (minus any ornaments that were smashed beyond repair). Around here we call this “redneck ingenuity.”
The moral of the story: It’s not the tree or even what’s under it that matters this Christmas season. It’s how you spend your time with your family that really counts. Laugh a lot—especially at yourself! And embrace your inner redneck! After all, it’s the redneck that knows how to overcome almost any obstacle with some scrap wood, a little duct tape and the right power tools.
My time here must come to an end as I continue my quest for a good, old-fashioned homestead Christmas.