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how to
get into the holiday spirit, even without the big tree
by Yee-Fan Sun |
1 2 3

Whether it's Christmas, Channukah, Kwanzaa, or Festivus you're celebrating, this is a season that's chock full of tradition for most of us. Here in my household, we have a little tradition of our own.

Every December, when the TV networks start advertising Charlie Brown specials and Rudolph claymation, and my friendly neighborhood Safeway begins providing my grocery shopping with a steady soundtrack of holiday hits, I start dreaming about a Christmas tree. I'll spend a week, maybe two, slowing down every time I drive by those ubiquitous tree lots that suddenly pop up after each Thanksgiving. I'll mentally rearrange my too-cramped nest to try and make room for a proper tree, knowing the whole while that it's an impossible task. One Sunday morning, the holiday spirit will prove too strong, and I'll drag my boy to Home Depot, under the guise of needing some essential for the house. My ulterior motive, of course, is to steer the boy towards the rows and rows of Christmas trees that I know will be sitting in the parking lot. I'll wheedle him into taking a peek, balk at the price, make wistful comments about how nice it would be if we had room for a big tree that stretched all the way to the ceiling. He'll humor me by nodding. And then he'll gently guides me towards the section where they keep the cheap two-foot potted evergreens, where we'll promptly proceed to pick out the least scraggly of the offerings and tote it to the cash register.

By now, of course, we know this ritual well. I used to actually hope that my ever-practical sweetie would miraculously agree with me that despite the fact that we'd again be spending Christmas away from Tucson, it would be a brilliant idea to spend $30 on a tree we'd barely get to enjoy before flying out east to see the families. This year, however, I've finally conceded that for us, buying a six-foot tall tree makes no sense. Still, I absolutely refuse to let my tree-deprived state deter me from decking my halls and bringing on the holiday cheer.

Finding you're similarly treeless this Christmas season? Check out these alternative ideas for bringing the holiday spirit into your home…

go green – without the big tree
If your primary reason for forgoing the traditional tree is space, try a mini live tree. You get all the piney goodness of a full-size version, but in an adorable, space-saving form. Don't fret when they look a bit scrawny in comparison to the full-sized trees at the lot. Back home in your cozy abode, the size will be just fine (though it does help if you can get it up off the ground, as there's something a little depressing about a tree so short that you're in danger of accidentally trampling it.  I use a footstool draped in a red and gold fabric). And once you start trimming the tree, you'll find it rapidly fills out. Decorate the mini-tree just as you would a big cut one -- and as an added bonus, if your tree can survive in your climate zone, you can always plant it once the season is over.  

mosey this way please

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