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It's Real and It's Spectacular

What the deal at your house? Real tree or fake? Since I was a wee little lad, we’ve always had a real Christmas tree in our house.

Of course, back in the day, going to a “tree farm” was not something most people had heard of. Need a tree? Go to the local corner gas station, see the man in the battered Santa suit and he’ll fix you up.

These days? Pack-up the fam, bundle-up, head to the trendy tree farm, walk around for a few hours before realizing there really is notsuch a thing as a “perfect” tree, then guillotine a hapless, imperfect little fir (we can turn the bare side against the wall, can’t we?), whip-out your credit card, and begin thinking about how you’re going to get your gasping-for-water tree back home without losing it somewhere around Veazie.

I gotta say, my preference between real and fake has morphed significantly over the last decade. A fake tree ten years ago? No way! Sacrilege! But lately….I’ve been seduced by the lure of NOT harvesting a perfectly healthy tree miles from my home while a sleigh full of kids slide by, wrestling to strap said executed tree to the top of our car with bungee cords that are either too short or too long (why in the world did I ever trade-in my pick-up truck?)

Then there’s the joy of jamming the dead tree through your too narrow front door, producing the first shower of pine needles in your house, inventing new cuss-vocabulary as you once again jam the #$@# butt of the tree into the tree stand you swore you would replace last year, only to hear a chorus of “it’s leaning to the right” once you have actually managed to stand the tree upright without falling over into the coffee table adorned with grandma’s ancient and very fragile Christmas bulbs.

“Oh, to have a fake tree,” I imagine dreamily to myself. Bring it up from the basement, dust it off a bit, plug it in, and….voila! A no-mess-no-fuss-no cuss-words required Christmas tree!

But here’s the thing. After all is said and done, after the half-hour of washing my hands free of pine tar (George Brett’s bat had nothing on my hands after struggling with a murdered Christmas tree all afternoon,) after decorating the tree with at least a few ornaments that should have been incinerated decades ago, and with the realization I will be investing a considerable amount of time in the coming weeks sweeping pine needles, tinsel, and kneeling my creaky body to the foot of the tree each day to apply water, and even worse, raising said creaky body back to vertical position, it’s all worth it.

Gotta stay with the family tradition, after all. The real tree is master over the fake. In other words, the pain is worth the gain. After all, in the grand scheme of things, it only requires a relatively small amount of time and hassle to make it happen, and keep the fam happy.

Perhaps we can pivot to another topic, keeping this Christmas tree “no pain-no gain” notion in mind. As we enter into “crazy-time”…er…..I mean….”The Joyous holiday season,” keep a stiff upper lip, matey. Much will be required of you to keep the fam and friends happy.

On top of the usual stressers accompanying the approaching weeks, the fact that our usual routines will be blown to smithereens due to the creepin’ Covid will add yet another layer of angst to our experiences. And yet, like wearing a mask these days in order to preserve life, even though it’s a hassle….it’s worth it. In the grand scheme of the timeline of your life, this will be a short period of time. And yet what you do in this short period of time will assure future happiness.

Be well, be brave, have courage my friends as the horrendous 365 day period known as 2020 begins to approach and eventually fades in the rearview mirror. Be safe, be kind, love one another, even amidst the hassles of it all. Remember, and learn from the dead tree being kept from falling over by a hidden piece of wire thumb-tacked into the wall next to Gramma’s picture….no pain-no gain.




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