Allow me to back up. The picking of the tree starts the weeklong fiasco of having a tree in the first place. I’ll preface that by informing you my parents both have OCD. My sister and I follow the ‘ehh fuck it’ approach. We have the same debate every year during the selection process. We always go for a live tree. Picking up every fallen pine needle gives my father his ya-yas and it gives him something to go off on me about. My special-needs feline has an affinity for drinking tree water, batting ornaments off or just full on jumping in it as if it’s his tree house. Little shithead. I can’t even blame it on my sister’s dogs because that little fucker sprints around the house like his ass is on fire, so proud of what he just did. Little does he know, the mound of tree sap on the top of his head gives him away. Then you have the debate over what KIND of tree. Who knew there were different ones? We walk up the drive to the nursery and were greeted by a macho woman sure to beat my ass should I swipe anything and asks my parents, “What kind of tree would you like and how large?” Immediately I open my mouth to say, “A Christmas one” but was cut off by a series of sentences and words I didn’t understand. Blue Spruce, Balsomething Fur, a mix…are we picking out puppies or plucking a tree? I spaced out at this point. This detail didn’t interest me and I was more stoked on the fact that I was wearing shorts and flops in December.
Next is the height. I always want a Griswald tree or something in comparison to the ones in Times Square. My parents, however, think we always need a ‘shorter’ one. If dad can put on the 30-year-old angel topper without a step stool or falling in the tree, it’s not tall enough. I’m ALWAYS veto-ed. Instead I received the task of holding on to the tree for the car ride home. We aren’t allowed to tie the tree to the top of the SUV like normal people because “those people are fucking idiots, it scratches the shit out of the roof” so instead we did the classy maneuver of putting the seats down and sliding it between the two front seats. With a bungee chorded tailgate we were off! My favorite part of this whole car ride was no one acted any differently. It was as if there wasn’t an 8-foot tree under my arm or between their faces.
The next few days consist of theme conversation and the actual places of the lights. I stay out of that part as the previous years have resulted in emergency room visits, the wearing of safety glasses and a lot of cussing. We decide on a silver and gold theme and last night was THE night for décor. Every year the placing of the ornaments is the same routine. My mom does the hooks and my father and I hang aka me hanging and him following behind me moving every one to its ‘rightful place.’ I normally wouldn’t even bother and just spectate but it becomes a game in my head of how long does it take him to move that one…which I thoroughly enjoy. While hanging the ornaments I was fortunate enough to be graced with the musical stylings of my dad’s classic hits. “Silver and Balls,” “Frosty the Snow Balls.” And my favorite…”My Ornaments are too Small.”