04 December 2005

a far less life-altering dilemma

After my last entry, it's time to move on to a far less life-altering dilemma: Christmas Tree or no?

We had a tree one year, 2000. It was great. CD had never had a real tree before. Apparently that's not done in England. (This is the only reason I can think of for not moving there, other than the part about never being able to afford a house....) We got it at IKEA, when they had the deal where you could return it on a Saturday in January and give you a gift card for something close to the purchase price AND they would chip the trees and donate the mulch to local garden projects. I hear they aren't doing this anymore. Too bad.

In 2001, we got Piper. Though we thought about getting one and just putting an ex-pen around it, we ultimately decided that a tree with a new puppy in the house would not be a good thing. And every year since we have concluded that Piper + Christmas tree would be disaster. The new house doesn't have a fire place do it's damn hard to make it the least bit festive for the holiday, especially without a tree.

Since this will be Oliver's first Christmas I've been going over the possibilities...put a tree outside on the very bare front porch where it would be unreachable by Piper...but I couldn't put any of my nice ornaments outside. Ditto for the back porch, and Piper could get to it out there. Inside? There's a possible spot in the living room and one in the dining room (though that would be a stretch). Yeah, we could re-arrange a few dog beds for a month.

One dilemma I never thought I would have is real vs fake. I'm a real tree girl, all the way. Never had fake, never will. I'm reconsidering. Technology seems to have advanced to the point where I really want to check them out, especially the pre-lit ones. Not having to wrestle with strings of lights is darn attractive.

What do you think? Am I mellowing in my old age? Should I let go of my purist tendencies just this once? Or should we skip the whole thing since Oliver isn't going to remember it anyway?


Melissa said...

How about a smaller tree that you can elevate so Piper can't get to it, but you can still use your ornaments?

Kim said...

That's a good idea, Melissa. Thanks, and enjoy the snow I see heading your way!

anythingcreative said...

When Piper's younger half-brother Sherman came along later that same year, we had the same dilemma. Our solution was to put the (artificial) tree on the front porch. No, I didn't get to use all of my favorite ornaments on the tree (I found other creative places for them, like hanging from the dining room chandalier and on some free-standing ornament stands on top of the entertainment stand and mantle). Yes, we had to duct-tape the tree to the porch to keep it from blowing over every time the wind came along. But you know, with some white lights and some red velvet ribbon, it was festive, I had a tree, and it was so pretty to look at - without worrying about the 4-legged kid wrecking it all the time! I vote for the tree. Oliver may not remember it - but you will! -'Auntie' Tara

Matt said...

I'm a tree guy myself, but with dogs and very little kids it's an extreme hazard.

Two tips, though:

(1) Very little trees, like living trees in pots or the 3 footers you get for $5 in the tree lots, can be put on top of things. Like a shelf on a corner or the dining room table. You decorate it with one string of lights and the best ornaments you have, and you're done, and it looks just as christmassy as ever.

(2) dog gates are your friend. We've used the SuperYard XT to surround a tree. The cats still batted at the ornamentes (have lost a few glass balls over the years as a result) but otherwise no damage. You can take the gate off for Xmas morning when the pets can be watched closely. Very nice compromise between tradition and safety ifyou want a big tree.

This year we're doing a smallish living tree -- a four foot California redwood, not the most traditional or practical of evergreens, but it will plant outside very nicely when we're done with it. We have had it in the side yard in a pot for the last month, will move it in a week before Xmas.

And one final note, if this isn't obvious: that first year, the kid won't notice anything much. He might have a few jollies chewing on some wrapping paper. We did Dunc's first Xmas on the road, splitting Xmas day between both grandparents' houses, and it was a little overwhelming, but the nice bit was we actually (gasp) didn't buy him anything for Christmas but he still had lots of fun. This year, I can already feel the complications ratcheting up, even though we're staying at home. Dunc is definitely at the stage where if he sees a package, say, come in the mail, he wants to open it NOW. We're going to have to be very cautious about how and when we lay out the presents.

Let's not even get into the whole Santa vs. Frosty vs. Jesus thing just yet.