December 18, 2009 | Posted in:Beauty, Family, Holidays, Parenting


We put our Christmas tree up last night;  a beautiful 7 foot Canadian Balsam fir. I haven’t had a real Christmas tree in over 20 years, so I wanted this to be a real family event for us.

I miss my fake one already. This one smells nice, sure, but my vacuum has been running non-stop and this thing drinks more than a University freshman during frosh week. If it turns out the smell is the only thing we like, next year I’ll just tuck some pine tree air fresheners amongst the gifts. Or maybe use them as ornaments.

For the first ten minutes of tree trimming everyone was gung ho – the Chipmunk’s Christmas album was on constant replay, the spiced plum candles were aromatherapyfying (are you going to tell me it’s not a word? I DARE you) and the television was aflame with an “authentic” wood burning fireplace DVD. I wasn’t being aggravated thus far or even yet had to remind them that I do my Christmas shopping at stores with VERY LIBERAL RETURN POLICIES.

At last we were done, and I hung the last ornament. It’s a special metal snowflake that operates the tree lights by touch, but it wouldn’t work for me.

I looked for the kids, but they were MIA.  There was laughter and the whiny pitch of pull-back Hot Wheel monster trucks coming from the kitchen. While I was creating a festive holiday atmosphere, attempting to make memories and traditions they would fondly recall throughout their lives, they were playing nativity scene animal road kill, lining up various camels, lambs, donkeys and running them down with “Gravedigger” and the aptly named “Maximum Destruction.”

I had my 10 year old daughter try the touch ornament, and it worked perfectly. Likewise for my son. I tried again, but still no luck. They had a blast turning the lights on and off while I was teetering on the brink of a  frustration and sugar cookie fuelled meltdown. I showed uncharacteristic restraint by actually reading the directions to the damn thing when my daughter brought them to me.

They read:

If tree lights do not go on/off, moisten your finger before touching. You may be one of a few people whose skin is so dry that it cannot be conductive. Also, calluses act as an insulator. Try touching the metal with the back of your hand.

Apparently, I have the hands akin to those of a retired Yukon logging foreman. Maybe Santa will bring me a manicure. Either way, the tree looks pretty good, and smells even better.  I just need to make sure the kids are around to turn the darn thing on.

  • Joe

    “Apparently, I have the hands akin to those of a retired Yukon logging foreman.”

    Great line. And seriously, why don’t more people just adorn their trees with those air fresheners? They already come with the little strap for hanging, you don’t even need to use the little metal hooks.

  • Wen

    I’m all for the pine tree air fresheners!

  • Lisa Rae @ smacksy

    Nativity scene animal roadkill is all kinds of awesome. Imagine what hitting a camel would do to your alignment.

    Merry Ho Ho.

  • hi-d

    So funny. Love the pine freshener idea. I do miss the smell now – but not the mess. And I swore I’d never go fake. ah-well… such is life.

  • Sheryl

    Do you know how many SPIDERS hid in those things, as well????

    Merry Christmas. Alvin and friends were playing in our house, as well. :)

  • meezletoe

    Hmm…I think last year my friend got a little tangled in the christmas tree lights while she was trying to unwind it. Her mom plugged it in on accident and her arm received an electric shock. She got sort of dazed and somehow ended up on the ground with her mom and sister looking at her all concerned-like. When she told me I couldn’t stop laughing and asking questions about the experience.

  • Alex

    I threw the lights out and bought a tree that has LED lights built in. Pretty and a no brainer.

    Shout out to you on my blog this week.

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