Monday, December 22, 2014

My Crooked-ass Christmas Tree

When I was a kid, we always went to a Christmas tree lot to get our tree, generally during the weekend after Thanksgiving, because that was the weekend my mom deemed that the house had to be decorated. There was no Christmas at all before Thanksgiving, then it exploded into our house by the end of that weekend. We had a big house and never had less than a 10' tree, so this was no small feat, especially since we decorated the entire downstairs and outside of the house, too.

In some ways, a big Christmas tree is easier than a small one. For one thing, a bigger tree has a real trunk. Christmas tree stands like real trunks. It's actually really difficult to find a good stand for a small Christmas tree, small being trees no more than six feet tall. Even using the smallest stands we could find, we always had problems with the trees staying upright. So, a few years ago, we switched to these stands they provide at the tree farm (don't worry, they're free-range trees) where we get our tree every year.
See that spike there in the middle? The tree goes right down on that. Or maybe you all know that? I have no way of knowing whether these things are commonplace or not. As far as I know, there wasn't anything like this when I was a kid, and I've never seen these kinds of stands at the store. I've only seen that at the farm where we hunt our tree.

So let's go with the assumption that you've never seen one of these before, in which case you are probably wondering how you get a tree onto that spike. It's not by hammering the stand. Actually, the guys at the farm -- stock pond for trees? I think hunting a tree at a tree farm is kind of like fishing in a stock pond -- have this contraption for drilling a hole in trunk so that it slides down onto that spike. It should be an easy process; in fact, it has always been an easy process in the past. We've never had a leaning tree before.

But this year... Well, the guy helping me was new, evidently. I say that because, as soon as he took the tree over to drill it, he asked for someone to help him. Still, not a big deal. Except that no one came over to help him, so he started trying to put the tree on the contraption by himself, then he yelled over at me to see if I thought it looked straight. I say "yelled" because I was at least 30' away, back where, you know, the customers are supposed to be. Which means I only had one view of the tree, and it looked fine from where I was standing.

So I was kind of shrugging at the guy, because I didn't feel like I was a good person to ask when, finally, one of the guys who has been there a long time hollered over that the tree wasn't straight. He started coming over but, then, some guy who was closer came over and the other guy went back to what he was doing. Now, the first guy finally had help... except, then, the two guys started arguing over how to do it (making me believe the "helper" was also new), the tree started swaying around, they seemed to come to some agreement, almost dropped the tree, re-straightened the tree, and, finally, drilled it.

I thought that was the end of the story. Like I said, we've never gotten a tree that leans before. But...

We got the tree home, I got out a stand, I worked the hole in the bottom of the trunk down onto the spike, and... We have a crooked-ass Christmas tree. [See, I said I was going to start using that word more. Ass, that is.] Seriously, the tree lists about 10 degrees off of the perpendicular.

And, yes, because I know you're going to ask: I did try to take pictures, but, due to the way I have the tree situated -- you know, to minimize the tilt -- you can's tell from the pictures how bad it is. And they didn't come out all that well, anyway. I should have taken pictures while I was putting it up before we had it all decorated and stuff, but I was distracted by trying to make it look like the tree wasn't about to fall into the middle of our living room. So, no, there will be no Christmas tree pictures, this year.

However, there should be Christmas Day pictures and stuff as usual. You know, after Christmas Day happens. And, maybe, once I get the tree taken down and stuff, I'll get some pictures of it outside so that you can see how crooked it is. Maybe I should have just taken it back...
My mom did that once. Um, twice, actually.
I thought I'd told that story before, but I'm not seeing it in my old posts. It's kind of a funny story...

24 comments:

  1. You did tell the story about your mom returning the tree.
    Sorry yours leans. Someone should've shown that guy exactly how to drill the hole.
    We had a real tree growing up, but my wife and I have had a fake tree for years. With pre-strung lights. So much easier.

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    1. Alex: I thought I did; I just couldn't find the post.

      And, actually, I don't mine the lean. I don't mind much these days that can turn into a story.

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  2. Well, at least all the needles should drop to one side. Easier clean up, right? :P

    Merry Christmas.

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    1. L.G. I wish! I've already found needles in my kitchen sink, and the tree is nowhere near there.

      Merry Christmas to you!

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  3. A Christmas spike? And you drill your tree so it can be properly impaled? No, actually, I didn't know about any of that, so I'm glad you mentioned it.

    And this is why I stick with my Festivus pole. That sweet-ass pole never leans.

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    1. ABftS: Man, now I want to invent a holiday!

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  4. A lopsided Christmas? lol. Well, could be worse.

    Merry Christmas Andrew.

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    1. dolorah: Well, considering how many trees we've had that actually just fell over, I'll take one that just leans.

      Merry Christmas to you, too!

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  5. I have not seen the tree spike method before, so hey, I learned something new. Sorry to hear you have a leaner. I'll have to do a post next year about the sad little branch trees I enjoyed as a kid. Too late for that this year, but yeah, tree trauma is great for stories. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Jean: You mean like Charlie Brown's tree? I always want one of those.

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  6. What an ordeal. Ten degrees of tilting is a lot when it's a big-ass tree. And I really want to hear that story about your mom taking a tree back (twice). That sounds like a good one.

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    1. Jeanne: Well, it's on my blog -somewhere-. Maybe Alex knows where it is.

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  7. Replies
    1. And enjoy the crooked Christmas tree - surely a fine addition to your family lore.

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    2. TAS: I may make next year's tree lean on purpose.

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  8. I don't know much about real Christmas trees. I think I was eight when my mom bought our artificial tree.

    Love,
    Janie

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  9. Janie: Real trees smell good but leave a mess.

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  10. I like that you are resolved to say "ass" more. I must've missed the post where you decided that.

    Our trees -- fake now, since I married Sweetie, not that I mind, because real trees are a pain -- are always crooked, notwithstanding that they are fake. We use the time-honored tradition of propping up one or more legs of the tripod stand with magazines. I don't know what we'll do when magazines are no more. Prop it up with old cell phones, I guess.

    You COULD have left the tree crooked and just pretended you were having Xmas in the 1960s Batman TV series. *SMASH* *POW* *JINGLE*.

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    1. Briane: I think that was two posts ago. I sort of think you commented on it, but I'm not checking back, at the moment.

      My son wanted to hang all the ornaments on the "down" side of the tree, but he got overruled.

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  11. I love this story. I can see the tree lot and the trouble with the "helpers," and the dismay with a crooked tree once home.

    19 Christmases we've kept a table topper tree that never leans. As a kid I used to go cut a tree down with my dad, but it's not my thing. Lots of time they leaned, on account of my dad not being a master tree chopper, and all. I like the fake trees. I've never even considered buying a cut one as an adult.

    Is that a humbug, or just practicality? They are pricey, and in 16 years out of 19 we lived in tiny rentals with no space for a big tree. Sometimes the apt was so small the tree actually sat on our dining room table.

    Still, my kids look on our tiny tree with fondness. But, their dad is Jewish and we also celebrate Hanukkah, so I suppose a leaning Christmas tree is the least of their concerns.
    Veronica

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    1. Veronica: See, I don't really know how to respond to this. Left to myself, I probably wouldn't bother with a tree at all. I think I lobbied for that one year, in fact, but I think it would have a negative impact on my children, not just now but for the future.
      I could be wrong.
      I just... well, Christmas was a huge deal in my house when I was growing up, and, in the end, I couldn't deprive my children from having the same kinds of memories.

      And I think my wife threatened me or something, too.
      (Not really.)
      (But, yes, really.)
      (But no.)
      ( )

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