You know how it goes – there’s that nip in the air, the roaring fires and shorter days. Christmas carols echo through the house and the dulcet tones of Do They Know It’s Christmas can be heard reverberating from the shower.
I have one problem with this picture. It’s that The Girl and I live in the southern hemisphere and all of the above transpires in July. That’s right, I’m being hounded about Christmas in July. Why?
Let me tell you.
So I’ve made it all the way through to October. I finally put up our Christmas tree last weekend. According to some in our house, it’s at least three months late but it’s a month earlier than normal. I tell people that we love Christmas. Well, who doesn’t? I tell people that I put the tree up early because we want to make the most of Christmas. But that leads to a problem.
Having the tree up for three out of the twelve months of the year takes its toll. The fake branches are a little misshapen from being shoved in that box every year and the polyester needles are showing signs of fading. Well, what do you expect in midsummer? The thing is right next to the window in full sun. Most of our decorations have gone from jolly red to a pale putrid pink. As for the candy canes, well, they wound up sticky enough to hang on the tree without help and I had to toss them last year.
So this year, I decided to buy a new tree. Yes, it’s still a fake one. But now there’s talk of ‘tips’. If you’re in the market for a new Christmas tree, you better get the lingo right. The better trees have at least a thousand tips, Darling. Oh, yes, Sweetie, you can’t possibly have a tree with less than a thousand ‘tips’, could you? I mean, more is more, isn’t it, Darling?
And so, after much nagging, some grizzling and an enduring level of whine from The Girl, I began the hunt. Unfortunately, the retail stores in New Zealand are not as onto it as we are. They don’t revel in the glory that is Christmas. They don’t rejoice in the festive season and break out the excessive merriment – at least not in July, August or September, they don’t.
October? Whoa! Different ballgame altogether!
Now there are trees and decorations spilling from every store. There are lights and baubles and trinkets and glitter for all. All at ridiculous prices, of course.
I found my new tree in a hobby store for $79. It was such a bargain that I actually covered it when I had to leave it in the back seat of the car while we went to rent the same damned video game we rent every week (sorry, that’s another story), in case someone broke into my car and stole my tree and I had to pay the exorbitant price all the other stores are asking for something almost exactly the same.
So we get the tree home. First thing The Girl says is, “Christmas tree.”
“Alright already, I’m putting the damned thing up!” I tell her lovingly.
So a thousand tips, eh? Holy moly. The thing comes in three sections. Putting that together takes about a minute and a half. The straightening and positioning of 998 tips (two broke off) takes at least three hours. Especially when you want to place the baubles in any sort of order. So a thousand ‘tips’. Take my advice. Get a real tree.
And true to every other year we’ve done this, The Girl sat on couch watching me until the last decoration is finally hanging on the tree. I stand back and say, “What do you think?”
She gives me a filthy look, says , “Presents,” then goes to her room to play the video game.
The presents will come. There’s no point in putting them out until the last minute because they’ll be ripped apart in record time. And the instant that’s over, she’ll start hounding me about her birthday…
…which is in June.