O! Tannenbaum!

Several years ago a friend invited me and some other people to a Christmas tree trimming party. That may sound a little odd—for most people who put up a tree at the holiday decorating it is a family event and limit it to people who live in the house, but she and her husband had just moved to Nashville and didn’t have any family nearby. So they made it a group event, which was a fun idea. Actually I think it’s weirder that decorating a Christmas tree is sometimes called “trimming”. I think if you’re going to trim a Christmas tree you should do it outside, otherwise there will be needles all over the carpet, although, let’s face it, if you’ve brought in a live tree you’re gonna get needles all over the carpet anyway, but that’s another story.

There was also the time I had my own private Christmas tree. I was, I think, in third grade, and had just read Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory, and loved the idea of going out into the woods, finding a big tree, cutting it down, and decorating it with handmade ornaments. So I was a weird kid. And there were no woods for me to go to, although I did have the vacant lots behind my house where cedar trees grew, so I took a hacksaw—I couldn’t find a hatchet in my parents’ basement—and cut one down. It was only about three feet tall. I made sure to clean off the bagworms and any other living ornaments before I took it to my room, stuck it in a can, wrapped a towel around the base, and made some of my own ornaments out of paper and foil.

Looking back on these experiences makes me think there’s no way to decorate a Christmas tree—or a tree for any holiday, or no holiday. Then again I’m a weird adult.


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  1. mydangblog

    One of my favourite things is that scene in Charlie Brown’s Christmas where the sad little tree becomes lush and full because of love. Maybe I’m weird too?. Ken and I have started buying live trees in pots and then we plant them outside in the spring.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That is a fun moment when Charlie Brown’s sad little tree becomes lush–all because kids just give it some attention. You’ve reminded me that there are some places that now sell a replica of the sad version of the tree which, I think, misses the point. Buying a live tree and planting it outside is perhaps the best way to celebrate the season–after all, the greenery represents rebirth after the long winter.

  2. Ann Koplow

    The child is father to man, and I love the weird adult you’ve become, Chris. Thanks for all the ideas you plant in your blog.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I love that we both embrace the weird adults that we’ve become.


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