Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Christmas Preparedness, and Music!

Well, well, well, we are just a week and a half away from Christmas and…I am totally not ready for it. I did spend about ten minutes moving some stuff out of the living room yesterday so that we can (eventually) put up a tree and decorate. Because we are ‘live (or, as my brother likes to call them, ‘real, dead) tree’ people, there’s always a bit of an argument over when to get the tree and when to put it up and how long to leave it up. In my house growing up, we always got the tree fairly late in the season, which undoubtedly explains in part why tree shopping was always such a stressful affair. I remember tree shopping being fraught with tension and short tempers, and trips to many, many different places–often on the coldest day of the year to that point. The tree generally got put up in the tree stand on December 23, and the decorating occurred on Christmas Eve itself. Naturally, I have a predilection for that.

My wife, on the other hand, prefers to get a tree bought and in the stand earlier than that. She’s not quite a ‘let’s get the tree on Black Friday’ person, but she runs toward the earlier end of the spectrum. The result is we don’t have a hard and fast day. It’s not tradition in our house to get the tree every year on December 17, lets say, or December 12. Instead we roll along until we receive some signal that tells us, “It’s time.” (Usually it’s the kids saying, “When are we going to get a tree?”)

We are fortunate, however, in that our tree shopping usually isn’t all that stressful, which is a good thing because the geography of tree places up here is a lot different than where I grew up. On Long Island it seemed like you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a tree lot. Up here? Well, the Lions Club sells them up in Cooperstown, but it seems like if you don’t get one there in the week following Thanksgiving, you’re out of luck. There’s another place, an actual tree farm where we get our trees year after year, but if we strike out there, we’re looking at a 20 minute drive (at least) to the next place–and the further we drive to get a tree, the further we have to drive home with one strapped to the roof of our vehicle. That is always a white-knuckle drive for me; I’m convinced, no matter how tightly we’ve got the tree strapped down, that I’m going to look in the rear view mirror and see it bouncing along the road behind us. It’s a great visual, and might be funny as hell in a movie, but not in real life.

So, perhaps we’ll get a tree this week. If not during the week we’ll have to do it this coming weekend. I just hope the weather is good. What about you? If you buy a tree, do you get it early, or late?

And now, some music. It’s not a Christmas song, but that’s okay, there’s enough of that out there without me pushing more of it in your face. Julia is the Magpie’s friend, a very talented young lady. Perhaps one day you’ll see her on TV or hear her on the radio and you’ll say you heard her here first. Enjoy!

3 Responses

  1. Our tree goes up the beginning of December. I love to have the house decorated for a month. When we lived in the UK, we had a real tree – oh the smell was divine – but it's a very good fake in Oz.

    Best wishes to you and yours this Xmas, Jeff.

  2. We gave up on live-dead trees when my hubby got completely fed up with the needles threading themselves through the rugs 🙂

    Very talented young lady!

    Hope you and your family enjoy a fabulous Christmas!

  3. -Donna–thank you! I love the smell of a Christmas tree. It's one of the best things going. Merry Christmas!

    -Jemi–I don't care about needles in the rug, but I hate putting on the lights! Yes, she's quite good, isn't she? Have a great Christmas!

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