Lame Tree? Just Breathe.

It’s not even officially the Christmas season yet, and I’m jaded and burned out over Christmastime.

Tragic violin music plays in the background to this realization.

For Family Night last Monday I had this burst of energy which I channeled into ordering Dutch to get out the (pre-lit, artificial) tree and putting the boys to work at decking it out. One week later, the tree has half of it’s lights working and hodge podge ornaments clustered in the areas where Jack, Charlie, and Truman could reach.

Editor’s note: thirteen year olds are too old and similarly too cool to hang around for much of this sort of thing. I dig it.

Jack has removed the berry garlands in an attempt to suck them into the shop vac.

Our tree looks crappy, stripped and humiliated before it was ever pretty. And I want to take it down. Like, now.

I want it to go away because when I look at it, it sucks a bit of my soul away. That ugly, half-baked tree makes me feel like I’m failing Christmas.

It’s so dumb, it’s practically irrational. But I’ve seen many a post of people’s attractively decorated homes and trees. I see themed trees, trees with matchy/complimentary ornaments, creative handcrafted trees, and trees that change beautifully from year to year based on the whim of the lady of the house in charge of holiday tree planning and execution.

Meanwhile, I’m asking the boys to stop trying to stuff the random, mixed-up ornaments into the gas fireplace louvres and to please, please leave the tree lights alone. Plugged in. Lighted. Seriously guys. Stop touching the cords. Now. Stop touching them now.

This tree drama is not worth it. I can’t handle it.

We passed a lovely holiday tree, swathed in purple ribbons and balls for epilepsy awareness this weekend as Charlie was wheeled from the children’s hospital ER to his room on the fourth floor.

Watching my six-year-old’s chest cave in with every labored, croupy breath, I didn’t care about the lamest tree that ever was back at home. I just cared that thanks to epinephrine breathing treatments and steroids, Charlie can inhale again without wheezing, chest retractions, and his lips turning blue.

I still feel an overwhelming urge to place my dilapidated tree on the curb with a Free! sign on it. But our stay in room 431 convinced me that some of the pseudo-important things which consume my energy are ephemeral. Other things, like being with my sick, anxious little boy on the autism spectrum during his first hospital stay, mean infinitely more.

I’m ready to do away with the trimmings and trappings of the holidays. I want to keep the spirit of peace, giving, and love. Good will to all can stay. The fake tree needs to go.

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And someday, I want this tree instead:

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  1 comment for “Lame Tree? Just Breathe.

  1. November 24, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Eventually, we had a kids’ tree and a mom’s tree. Mom’s tree was gorgeous with a thousand lights and a thousand plus ornaments. The kids’ tree had stuffed ornaments, was artificial, and stayed up the entire year in the basement family room. Christmas in July… August… September… might as well leave it up now.

    Dad wanted to help Mom with her tree so he bought a large, artificial, pre-lit tree. He didn’t realize that she loved the smell of a fresh tree, in spite of the pains to get all of those lights on the sappy branches. So then there was the “Mom’s tree” and she added a small, real tree in her bedroom, all decked out.

    My mom might be a little bit obsessive about decorating Christmas trees.

    Two years ago, the tree (just one) didn’t get finished until after Christmas. My mom’s little sister was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Driving home from a performance, my mom hit black ice and launched her car off of the freeway. She climbed out, pulled her violin out as well, and climbed up the bank to wave down the ambulance that couldn’t find her.

    Perspective.

    That year, Mom left the tree up until mid February. It was okay that she wanted to pause the holidays.

    I’m so glad that Charlie is doing better. It is the saddest to have a sick child. You just want to take it all away.

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