The F Word
Anyone who knows me well understands that I have a lifelong obsession with Christmas trees.
When I was little in the 1960s, my family would drive around looking at holiday lights. I would see a huge aluminum silver tree change colors in a big bay window and murmur, "Ooooooh!" knowing that my parents would never, ever let us have something as flashy as one of those. While my mother quickly embraced the latest in artificial plastic trees (we had horrid allergies), she was fairly traditional in her decorating schemes.
A decade ago I stumbled upon a seven foot aluminum tree at a yard sale. My childhood fantasy would at last be realized! I decided to put it up in my kitchen next to my collection of aluminum kitchen ware. (A theme! Yes!)
Several seasons later, aluminum trees returned to retail stores in a kitschy comeback. No one can believe I snagged mine for a mere five bucks.
My kids love buying a real tree at Christmas. We've made a family tradtiion out of heading to the lot (sometimes several lots; now and then lots of lots) on the first chilly night after Thanksgiving (sometimes we have for up to a week after the turkey is gone; this is Texas, after all) and bickering for at least half an hour over which tree is perfect for our living room.
I own an indecent amount — hundreds — of Christmas decorations, so I like to get the biggest, fattest, fluffiest Noble or Fraser fir I can find, preferably with some kind of branch mutation. Treezilla. Our modestly sized house has an eight-foot ceiling, and it's really hard to determine how tall a tree really is when you're outside, so some years Dave has to lop off a foot or two just to get the thing inside. How many people go to a tree lot and have their children shriek, "MOM! NO! It's too BIG!" remembering some of the gumdrop-shaped monstrosities that have filled our living room.
The biggest problem with tree selection is that my parent's Good Taste gene obviously skipped me and went to both of my kids. Over the years they have learned to love the silver 1960s tree, but every year they talk me out of buying another childhood dream: a FLOCKED tree.
I've wanted one since 1964 and never had one. Maybe it's the lack of snow in Texas that makes the flocked tree so attractive. I only know that last year, when all four family members were negotiating over which of the tree finalists would be thrown on the top on my minivan, Kate said, and I quote:
"Okay, Mom. If you let us have this small and tasteful tree this year, next year we can finally get your stupid flocked one." (Isn't she charming? What a heartwarming glimpse into my family's holiday traditions.)
I caved in. Kate's tree choice was fine, just a bit dinkier than I would have liked.
Actually, it was the sorriest shrub we'd ever brought home and I've been fuming for a year.
So in just a few days, the fabulously fake FLOCKED fir will be mine.