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a tree of my own getting and caring for your first real Christmas tree
by Yee-Fan Sun
| 1 2

Most times of the year, I’ll readily admit: the boy’s the optimistic one and I’m the crank. But there’s something about the holiday season that has a tendency to turn this little household of ours into Bizarro world. Sometime around December 1st or so, I start finding myself absent-mindedly humming carols, cheerfully compiling new holiday cookie recipes – and hankering for a real Christmas tree, all green and lovely and piney-fresh. The boy will do his best to ignore these early symptoms of my annual bout of holiday spirit; whether it’s his hardcore atheism, his absolute loathing of the shopping fever that overtakes everyone this time of year, or heck, maybe even a mild case of SADD that’s to blame, the impending holiday has a tendency to bring out his inner Grinch. But eventually, our conflicting holiday views come to a head. Year after year, the final battle all comes down to one thing: the tree.

Yes, on the tree issue, we just can’t seem to agree. It’s our own special holiday tradition. Passing by yet another of the ubiquitous tree lots that spring up all over town this time of year, I’ll heave a big dreamy, “Ohhhhhhhh!” Stop and stare longingly; smile hopefully at the boy. Who’ll inevitably respond with a raised eyebrow and a roll of the eyes, his head shaking as he gently but firmly tugs me away.

In the past, like any good couple faced with disagreement, we’ve always compromised. Responding to his argument that it’s just plain wasteful to buy a cut tree that has only a few more weeks of life on this here planet, I’ve bought a small live tree in the past, the kind that comes potted with roots intact, so you can plop it into the ground after you’re done with the seasonal festivities. This might have been a dandy idea, had we been living anywhere other than the desert American southwest, whose climate is not exactly conducive to your typical evergreen tree variety’s need for, oh, water. Last year, living in a small apartment in Edinburgh, the boy’s complaint was that trees, like just about everything else in the UK, were just too ludicrously pricey. Spying a great deal on a 4’ fake tree at the British equivalent of a dollar store one day, however, I promptly plunked down my fiver, and gleefully brought my find home.

Truth be told, the little live trees and the dinky plastic tree were all fine. This holiday spirit of mine is hard to crush, and as long as I have some sort of a tree-like form on which to hang ornaments, I soon get over the initial disappointment of having to compromise. But this year, for the first time ever, the boy finally caved on the tree front. Looking for a new fake tree to replace the one we donated to charity before leaving the UK, we’d failed miserably in our attempts to find a good deal. With every supermarket and corner store in the city hawking 4-6’ cut trees for way less than it would have cost to buy a decent-looking artificial version, the boy’s frugal tendencies proved his downfall … allowing me to sweep in for my first ever solid win in the annual Christmas Tree Battle.

fa-la-la-la-la this way

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