I'm a bargain shopper. There are not many things that I think are worth full price. But let me enlighten you on one of those things. A Christmas tree. If you like decorating for the holidays and having pretty lights twinkling from your window- do not skimp on your Christmas tree.
Thurston and I went to the Farmers Market in Raleigh this past weekend and it was cold and starting to rain, but I didn't want to purchase the first tree that has an agreeable price tag. (Agreeable price tag = $40 or less) So we're looking around and see this one long leaf pine that's about 7 feet tall. It stands out because there's only a few of these long needled trees and on closer inspection we see that the price tag says $35!!! Normally a $35 tree is about 5'5" or maybe 5'10" if you're lucky. A tall burly, but soft spoken gentlemen in a Santa hat walked over and asked if he could help us with anything so I asked why this particular tree what so inexpensive. "Shes crooket" And he tilts it so the trunk is flat on the ground. "oh" I say. I squint my eyes and stand back a couple of feet so the crookedness registers. I ask if it could be fixed by putting it in the tree stand at the opposite angle and the man says sure. By now I feel like I've already invested in this tree and will feel like I'm turning my back on lame puppy if I walk away so I bite my lip and ponder. This, I assume, inclines our chainsaw dawning Santa to lower the price to $30 so - we take it. I'm super excited because, 1. I feel like we have a different and rare tree 2. It's big and impressive. 3. We possibly saved a tree from a fate of mulch and 4. It was cheap.
Thurston hoists it up stairs and we adjust it in the tree stand until it's pretty much straight. This takes a while. It's just barely leaning forward, but that makes it seem all the more grand. I put the lights on and notice that the long needles do a great job of shielding the lights so the effect is a subtle inner twinkling. I make a face and decide it'll look brighter once there's ornaments on it to reflect the light. So I pour myself a glass of eggnog and Thurston and I start hanging the glass bulbs and copious "1st Christmas Together" ornaments we got last year. The thing with long needles is that you can't hang anything on the tips of the branches. The needles work like a slide at a water park so they have to be hung a little ways back. Out of sight basically. It's still pretty and smells so good... and the star isn't on yet and that always makes a difference.
Thurston goes into the other room to get the camera and I'm adjusting some of the ornaments with one hand and holding the star in the other. And like out of one of those America's funniest home videos, the tree slowly slowly starts to lean, then fall. I have enough time to yell "Thurston!" but it's too late. Tree down. Water from the stand gushing out. A cloud of those lovely long needles everywhere. And to top it all off, broken glass.
Now I'm not an overly sentimental person, but I knew this tree was out to get me but I just kept ignoring it, looking for the up side. Broken laid a big pretty bulb that I got from pier 1 last year, a glass bell that came in a 30 year old pack we got from the thrift store, and a mercury glass angel that came in a set as a wedding/Christmas gift from my mom. I even kept the note she wrote to us in the box with all the bubble wrap. I felt a swell in my eyes as I ran to get a towel to throw on the water while Thurston steadied the tree. How do you begin to clean up what is essentially needle and shattered emotion soup? I swept up the glass and needles and laid paper towels on damp floor and we started taking off the rest of the ornaments. What wasn't obvious was that all the ornaments that didn't fall off were balancing on the ends of those water slide needles. As we were trying to get the breakable ones off as fast as possible, gravity beat us to it. The slightest nudge and another one would drop.
I'd like to think I reserve my tears for when nothing else will do. A few broken ornaments wouldn't normally put me over the edge, but the regret of getting that stupid tree along with the complete helplessness of suicidal ornaments - well, that did it.
We cleaned as best we could and laid the tree back down. I'm not going to lie to you, it crossed my mind to shove it out the window and just start over with full priced center-foldesque new tree, but that's not me. I'm more likely to go through the trash to find something useless to rig to this other thing in order to make the thing I refuse to buy. Don't get me wrong, I certainly have my fair share of over flowing target bags when I only went in to get batteries. But my heart tells my hands it can be fixed. So we do.
We find my little hack saw that I've used maybe a half of dozen times and Thurston saws off about a foot or more of the trunk. We balance it back into the stand and put a door mat under half of it to help keep it level. And to 100% ensure that it will not meet the floor again until January, I tied it to our windows and went to Target for one more strand of lights and one pity ornament. (and bag of peppermint paddies, some mouth wash, half and half, paper towels, cereal, ect...)
Maybe now because it's smaller and the light /ornament to tree ratio is grander, it looks so much better. The new lights helped a lot and the ornaments seemed to show through better. I don't have a tree skirt (yet) so we spread out holiday blankets under the tree and the cat has a new place to lay. Everyone's happy.