Well, it’s that time of year in our household where the Rubbermaid bins of ornaments are lugged from the basement to the living room, only to be critically analyzed and categorized by yours truly. I start to sort the ornaments based on color, carefully making my selections on a strictly aesthetically pleasing basis and begin methodically planning my decorating technique for the upcoming Christmas season.
All of this careful strategizing is quickly turned upside down when my husband enters the room and starts to pull out the folk art ornaments his mom made for a small-town western Pennsylvania craft show in 1988 and the myriad of Pittsburgh Steelers ornaments he’s collected, immortalizing all 30 football seasons since he’s been born. And yes, I said 30.
I roll my eyes, quietly scolding myself for thinking this year would somehow be different than all the rest. I try to sneak some of the ornaments back into the bin, he pulls them back out. This charade goes on for several minutes before I start to lose it, knowing the tired conversation we have every single Christmas is on the horizon.
Every year we have the same debate: I want a themed tree, one that could be a serious contender in a Martha Stewart magazine contest. He wants a tree representing a lifetime full of memories as children, husband and wife and now as parents. As I listen to his droning, I glance out the window and fall into the often unescapable zone of holiday nostalgia. As I watch the snow fall gracefully on the ground, I inhale, remembering what Christmas used to smell like, what it used to feel like, what it used to be like.
I quickly snap out of it. No, he can’t do this to me. Not again. Not this year. I WILL GET THE TREE OF MY DREAMS. I know, so many of you are thinking, “Compromise?” We’ll get there…
My Dream Tree
Forget sugar plum fairies. You see, I DREAM about the perfect tree. And my dream tree looks something like you’d see in the 34th Street Macy’s display window. I want the lights to subtly glisten, illuminating each ornament that has been delicately placed. I want the beads seeming as if they have been haphazardly wrapped, but in truth perfectly draped by no accident at all, each rope equidistant from one another. I want the ornaments to match impeccably. Whether the color scheme be silver and gold, or red and green, or plum and hunter, each and every ornament should compliment the colors of the one that surrounds it. I want a tree I can sit in front of each night, admiring its artistic integrity.
His Dream Tree
In one word: shmorgishborg. Like the annual pot luck dinner at church. He believes every single ornament he’s ever held in his palms, belongs on the tree. Forget aesthetics. Forget dreams (well, mine at least.) None of this matters to him. He wants to take each ornament out of the box and talk about where it came from, who gave it to him and why it belongs on the tree. Can you say MADNESS?
I suppose you can find honor and value in what my husband believes a tree should stand for. And this was the first year I actually took the time to think about this. I decided I agreed with and respected what he had to say.But that still didn’t solve how we were going to both get the tree we’ve always wanted. After some quick deliberation, we came to the only feasible decision: we must have two trees.
One, Two, Tree
So yes, we will be adopting the two-tree approach this year. That way if I want to reflect on Christmases past, I can visit the tree in the family room. If I want to imagine I’m in Manhattan window shopping, I can saunter into the living room. It seems like the perfect set up. I just need to be careful not to meddle with his tree. We both deserve to have our Christmas tree dreams come true.