It’s starting to dry up and drop needles. Like the rest of my house, the ornaments probably need to be dusted. The bolster and tree skirt are disheveled from cats, a baby, and general wear and tear. It’s a constant reminder of the current chaos of life. It’s a constant reminder that we sort of sucked at Christmas this year.
Let’s rewind to the weekend after Thanksgiving. Hopes for a successful Christmas were high and the excitement of our son’s first Christmas was palpable. In years past, the day after Thanksgiving we would venture to our local tree farm and buy a pre-cut Christmas tree that was always way too big for our living room, but we didn’t really care. We do a real tree. It’s a pain in the ass, but I insist. It probably stems from a weird “designer tree” phase my mom went through in the 90s. Anyway, at the very least, we would get a tree the week after Thanksgiving. Those days…and weeks…came and went this year. In our defense, we did have a very cold snap early December, and I wasn’t going to drag my infant son out to a tree farm in a 15 degree blizzard. Of course, as a new mom, I wanted to have the pictures of us at the tree farm. Me in my cute Hunter Boots and leggings, with my perfect son bundled up and in the Baby Bjorn and my hot husband looking all manly strapping the tree to the top of the Jeep. But, I let being practical win.
We never got the photos. In fact, we didn’t get our tree until the week before Christmas. I threw my hair in a top knot, grabbed whatever coat I could find, and threw on my winter shoes…not photo ready. My husband had come from helping his dad shovel out his driveway so he was less than hunky looking. My kid, well, he’s always perfect. 🙂 I was starting to get choked up leaving the second tree farm, thinking we weren’t going to have a tree for my son’s first Christmas. We decided to stop at a local church to see if they still had anything in their lot. The lot was picked over, there was no longer an attendant to take your money. All of the trees were a bargain $30 each and paid for with an honesty box. We looked around, and low and behold, there it was. A perfect little Christmas tree. I’m shocked no one had grabbed it. It was sitting upright in the snow, not jammed up on one of the racks. It had very little snow on it. My husband asked if I wanted to look around more or pull any other trees off the racks. I said, “nope, this is it”. I just knew it. And I felt so much better in that moment that we would, in fact, have a tree for our kiddo.
Then the scramble was on to fill the bottom of the tree with presents. You see, we buy presents for half of West Michigan. Typically my husband helps with the running around, but due to an early winter, he was totally slammed at his job as a ski instructor. So by a miracle called Amazon Prime, and living in an adorable little town with little shops and boutiques, I was able to get all of the shopping done. He didn’t have time to shop for me, so we just said we would delay Christmas…and delay Christmas…and delay Christmas. We still haven’t done our Christmas.
We have one more family Christmas tomorrow – we do the 4 Christmas thing due to divorced parents on both sides. So really, we’ve done 2 Christmases already, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. And usually, our tree comes down New Years Day or the following weekend. Christmas is packed up, the house is clean and the feeling of “fresh start” is everywhere. Not this year. I keep telling myself that the tree is still up because we are still celebrating. Or, this year we are observing and Epiphany. Anything other than the fact that we just didn’t get our poop together, and still seem to be scrambling a bit trying to figure our the whole life/parenting/obligations balance. FYI, soon to be parents reading this – a major holiday will totally blow up your life.
Hopefully, this week we can do our Christmas, and then promptly get our tree down. Our son doesn’t know it’s past Christmas. He doesn’t even get the idea of it. So, we’ll take the pics and when he’s old enough not to be permanently damaged by the news, we’ll share with him the tale of his first Christmas, mid-January, and laugh. Next year we’ll be better. We’ll be Christmas rock stars. We will Christmas so hard our Facebook and Instagram pics will be the best on the internet. Or, at the very least we’ll have a Christmas morning for our kid.