Last December, we had downsized and moved into a smaller home just a few days before Christmas. There wasn't enough time or energy to put up our artificial tree. The house was in disarray. Our priories at that time were finding the toilet paper rolls, the alarm clocks and warm blankets. A Christmas tree was furthest from our thoughts. But our daughter home from college on her winter break objected. "Are you kidding me? We aren't having a tree? We always have a tree."
Not wanting to be labeled a scrooge by my own daughter, I compromised. I managed to find the one-foot lighted ceramic tree my mother had made me. It wasn't big on size but it was big on sentimental value. I was happy, my husband was happy -- but my daughter, not so much. Next Christmas will be different, I promised her.
Don't get me wrong, I love trees. One of my favorite poems is "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer. An excerpt from the poem reads: "A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray."
But I do have tree-devotion limitations. Not so with a friend of mine, who shall remain anonymous. I'll call him Stan. Every Christmas, Stan would trample through the snow-covered woods and cut down the most enormous evergreen tree he could find for his sister and mother. And every year he removed his living room's picture window to accommodate that tree. Stan went to such extremes because they literally had hundreds of ornaments, each one more special than the next. It took them weeks just to decorate.
Therefore, I shouldn't complain when the repercussions of downsizing invaded our holiday season again this year. When I pulled our old artificial Christmas tree out of storage, it looked way too big width- and length-wise for the family room. Therefore, I decided to put the tree up in the finished part of the basement where there was extra space. Not so good.
I started to assemble the three parts. I put the bottom section of the tree into the stand, then the middle piece. Lo and behold, I "hit the ceiling" when the third and final piece of the tree also hit the ceiling. It was a disaster in the making. Attaching the top of the tree, the most important part, into the midsection wasn't going to happen. It was squish-ville.
Also, how could our family be deprived of the yearly placement of the angel, which was positioned at the very top of the tree? To make matters worse, the angel was a gift, hand-stitched by my now deceased Aunt Dee.
I must admit, one holiday season I was naughty and substituted that angel with a picture of me instead.
Then there was the dilemma about the nativity scene. If there was no tree, where would the nativity scene be placed? This meant no room at Old Orchard Lane for Mary, Joseph and infant Jesus. What would Stan do?
In hindsight, when I went house hunting, maybe I should have bought a house to fit a tree. Or should I have bought a tree to fit the house? Fanatic for solutions, my options were: making a special stand so the tree would sit horizontally instead of vertically, removing a basement ceiling tile allowing the whole tree to stand erect, or spending some bucks.
I've come to the realization that a smaller house means a smaller tree. The answer was buying a shorter, leaner, prelit tree. Sorry, Stan, I'm more the Charlie Brown type.
Karen Adragna Walsh, who lives in Orchard Park, had to downsize her tree after moving to a smaller home.