Wish You Were Here: To Tree or Not to Tree

To tree or not to tree, that is the question.

Every November, a couple of big tractor-trailers pull into Ambler Farm direct from North Carolina or Nova Scotia or no man’s land — I have no idea, to be honest, but I do know the unbridled anticipation on my husband’s part is something akin to the elation I might experience seeing Milo in the buff perhaps with a big red bow displayed prominently on his… proboscis. My husband has a real thing for those trees. Convoluted metaphor? Maybe. The point is that he literally cannot get to the farm faster than if Santa himself were flying him there with Rudolph leading the way.

Christmas, it can’t come soon enough, (for some of us anyway).

But truthfully, I’m a little over the whole tree thing — the lights I can never manage to get untangled, the ornaments that make me mental and usually just end up in pieces all over the floor, my husband’s insistence that we place whatever National Lampoon 14-footer directly next to the closest fire source because really, nothing screams holiday spirit more like burning bush.

I’m not a scrooge. I promise. I love Christmas. I love Hanukkah. I love the blending and melding of our unified … unity, union, unicycle? That truly just makes me wish eggnog came in a kegger … I mean, really, why not?

Something needs to get me through the needle-y nightmare of trying to get that beastly bush through the front door, in place, and free from spontaneous combustion. And don’t get me started on the tree stand … the standing there, the getting your fingers pricked, the fact that no matter how many times you lean it just a little to the left, it falls back over to the right until hubs gets so sick and tired of the whole ordeal, he literally takes a yellow rope and hangs old holly jolly from the ceiling, where it swings like it’s finally received its due punishment.

But the tree, in fairness, is usually just one emblematic little eggnog inducing emergency in the grand scheme of “Santa, baby. Hurry down the chimney and bring a stockpile of sedatives with you.” Decorations. They never cease to enhance my holiday; especially since I’m not even sure most of these are actually decorations or just a bunch of crap somebody threw into a box after hitting the fruitcake a little too hard (not naming names here), but plastic aquarium plants? Assorted necklaces? A Barbie wrapped in tinfoil? And just when I think it can’t possibly get any more disturbing, I find some popcorn, half strung, half-eaten by what I can only imagine; a tiny trumpet of sorts; and a shoe-horn? The jury’s still out and possibly deliberating over how long to let that tree hang from the ceiling.

I gaze across the street at my neighbor’s house, all decked out like “deck the halls” in its illuminated glory, complete with many a wreath, many a bow, and nary an aquarium plant, and suddenly feel like a fantastic failure. I can’t find the lights. I can’t find the elf. There appear to be no unbroken ornaments anywhere and the pretty little angel whose one job one time a year is to literally sit pretty atop that 14-footer seems to have done a number on her head, in the sense that it’s missing.

I toss all the mutant mish-mosh of misfit toys back in the massive manhole from whence they came and pour myself a stiff drink, muttering not at all quietly about my own lack of organizational skills, forethought, and surplus of aquarium items. Seriously, we owned two fish and a hermit crab (exactly once) and it’s like a Petco Special in there.

But all I want for Christmas truly is to find those outdoor lights and hang them and maybe replace the bulb on the front porch that’s been out for six months and counting but they’re missing in action, gone, leaving me with Aluminum Enthusiast Barbie and a headless angel in my wake. They both look up at me (well, Barbie does. Angie’s still missing her head) as if to say, what now? What next?

“Truly ladies, your guess is as good as mine.”

I go out to the front porch to assess the situation and maybe to get away from the headless angel, who I’m mildly convinced is now stricken with some sort of demonic possession and that’s when it occurs to me, I never took the lights down from last Christmas which frankly saves me a whole lotta time, especially considering I was really getting to the end of my rope over here.

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television — Channel 3, sometimes Channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.