Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The tree is up!

We were chatting in the comments section of the Great Lileks's site about trees being variously up or not up for Christmas. I'm proud to announce that mine are done. All three of them. 

Yeah, got one big tree and two little trees. Why? Too many ornaments. I can't bear to cull them. Too much sentiment. Basically for me to throw out an ornament it has to be reduced to irreparable shards of glass. It has to be dangerous.

We were entertaining the idea of a real tree this year, a luxury we have not enjoyed since we moved into the forced-air-heat house. When we made the move we were out of the house a lot during the day, so we just assumed a real tree in these conditions would turn into a smoldering matchstick around lunchtime. Now that I'm self-employed, I have nothing to do but hang around and add water to the basin. Still, with one thing and another, we just didn't have time to go bazaar bargaining for a tree, so I dug out the old reliable artificial trees once more. 

Here's the big tree:


Okay, it's just an oil painting. Not even actual paint. Just app paint. I don't want to stun you with the magnificence of the real thing.

As you can imagine, it takes a while to put up a kabillion ornaments on three trees. And I'm not one to just chuck an ornament on a branch, either. There are criteria that must be addressed for proper ornament placement, and the list grows longer as the tree gets more crowded. Here are the questions I ask myself before I hang an ornament on a tree, in the order in which they crop up:

1. Is it (the ornament) an appropriate size for this section of the tree?

2. If not, is it still useful for filling a hole or some other purpose?

3. Is it too heavy for this section of the tree?

4. Is it fragile, and if so is it in a section where it is more likely to get knocked off the tree?

5. Is it ugly or damaged, and should therefore be further to the rear?

6. Is it a gift from someone who is likely to come over and expect to see it prominently displayed?

7. Is it one of those extra-special lovely, nostalgic, funny, touching, or otherwise extraordinary ones that need to be up front?

8. Is it too similar in type to one already hung close by (snowmen, stars, snowflakes, Nativity scene, etc.)?

9. Is it too similar in color to one already hung close by (don't want a big clump of red, for example)?

10. Does it clash with anything close by (pink/orange, etc.)?

11. Does it have to be attached to the light string?

12. Is that really a branch or just an unsupportive nub?

13. Can I squeeze one more in there?

14. Does it matter that two glass ones are clunking into each other?

15. Why did I agree to do this?

16. Will I finish before %$@# Groundhog Day?

As I say, it's a lot of work, and gone are the days when I can just heave all the decorations up in a few hours. But I do love it when it's done and everything looks wonderful.

Of course, in January I can't wait to dump it all in a box and shove it away.

I think I'm subconsciously trying to reduce the ornaments to irreparable shards of glass. No luck yet.
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