Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Devil of a Time

How does a tree figure into Christmas?

Seriously. I don’t recall any Douglas firs next to the Christ child’s manger. The Wise Men didn’t come bearing frankincense, myrrh and tinsel. So how did a tree become associated with a religious holiday?

I’ll tell you how: Satan.

That’s right. It had to be Beelzebub who realized this Christian holiday was getting a bit out of hand. Too much love. Joy. Happiness. Gag. So he introduced the notion that a decorated tree might be a nice spot under which to place our presents. In honor of the beloved Christ child, of course.

What a swell idea.

This explains why I have a devil of a time manipulating a 6-foot noble fir into a Toyota trunk. And why it takes 30 attempts, littered with a few unChristmas-like words, to get it out again with branches and dignity intact.

I drag it to my condo, leaving behind a trail of needles that enables me to find my way back to the car to retrieve the branches that remain in my trunk. They’re wedged between the spare tire and the stack of newspapers for recycling. The branches will go back on the tree.

Two words: glue gun.

After tangoing with the tree, knocking pictures off the walls and trinkets off shelves, after leaving a path of destruction from my front door to the living room, after responding to my neighbor’s 911 call that no, I am not being attacked by a home intruder, I finally finagle the son-of-a-birch on a stand that is missing one leg. I prop it in a corner and use a folded “Is Martha Stewart Living?” magazine as a makeshift fourth leg. I wrestle with a tangled with of lights that, glory be, actually work!

Until they’re on the tree, that is.

I use my grandmother’s wedding dress as a tree skirt because I can’t find the tree skirt I bought at Macy’s for $75. I locate the ornament hooks only after I step on them in my bare feet. My hair is standing on end from tree sap. The tree is leaning precariously toward the west and my condo looks like it imploded broccoli.

I am not in a Christmas kind of mood.

But the holiday spirit blossoms when I remember ‘tis the season of giving. I wrap gifts for my loved ones, wasting three feet of imported designer paper on a box that contains a tie tack. I curl ribbon until it disintegrates into dust. I cut my carpet along with the wrapping paper. I curse the Rubik’s Cube courtesy boxes from Nordstrom. I swear as I manipulate my body into yoga-type positions in order to lovingly wrap, tie and finish these receptacles of torture.

Hours later, boxes that look like bad origami sit nestled beneath the tree, which has shifted considerably towards the setting sun. I sit back, tired but satisfied. I admire my decorated tree and the handiwork beneath. The specialty gift-wrap. The silk ribbons. The gold-plated gift tags.

Which I forgot to label.

Then the tree falls.

Ah yes, it’s Christmas once again. I know full well that I’m in for my traditional yuletide of suffering, torture and abuse. Yet still I continue to put myself through the agony of Christmas trees and the wrath of wrapping.

I don’t know the devil why.


blackwhitereadallover said...

EILEEN! Please warn people to not read this if they are sitting at their desk and need to pee. I've laughed so hard I now need to immediately go to the bathroom, which is cold here on a Sunday...

LanceH said...

If it is any consolation at all, as I was hanging Christmas lights from my second-story apartment's balcony and adjoining stairway, I smashed several bulbs and jammed one of them directly into the tip of the middle finger on my right hand. (Wouldn't you know, we're out of fingertip band-aids.) And then the tree, thankfully fake, that my wife and I setup, covered with lights and ornaments and fingertip blood, was promptly knocked over by our cat who no doubt was trying to climb the flimsy aluminum branches. (She's a black cat. I think this fits in with your theory of the involvement of dark forces.)

Needless to say, I (we) feel your pain, sister. Down with commercial holiday traditions!

Jeez, I need some egg nog.

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