Dadtritus Alert: Multiple Christmas Trees
Is it just me, or do you, too, have a backup to your main Christmas tree gathering dust in your basement, or attic, or wherever you stuff backup Christmas trees?
And is there a backup to your backup?
And backups to that one, too?
I suppose there’s some logic to how we’ve acquired this holiday “dadtritus.” Logic: though that doesn’t make it right.
My wife and I started out in a charming little apartment most notable for its low rent and stumbling proximity to our favorite bars in downtown Naperville, a Chicago suburb.
We felt like we had all the room in the world back then: enough for our bed and dressers, a table for a computer, a room to watch my chunky 1990s TV in, or cue up a VHS, a room to dine on our garage sale family-size table, and a few hanging pots and pans in the kitchen. There were a few boxes from college in the basement, but nearly everything we owned was pressed into service, every day. We were blessedly free from excess.
We felt like we had all the room in the world back then: enough for our bed and dressers, a table for a computer, a room to watch my chunky 1990s TV in or cue up a VHS, a room to dine on our deluxe garage sale family-size table, and a few hanging pots and pans in the kitchen.
For our first Christmas, we put up a strand of lights from Katie’s college dorm, and a little artificial tree that could hold a few Peanuts miniature ornaments.
Somewhere between the little apartment and our first house, we acquired a tabletop size artificial tree that was a little bigger than the mini one. Big enough, as back then, before kids, our presents were practical. No giant blog sets or kid-warping video game consoles to set beneath the branches just yet.
Our life was open enough — again, before kids — we had time and the inclination to set up the mini tree, too.
One Tree, Two Trees, Add Another Three Trees
The medium-size Christmas tree served through several holidays and our first two sons. We tended to perch it atop a coffee table to keep them from climbing it or knocking it down, and, of course, to fit under it all the loot that came their way.
By the time we moved to a new house, despite two giant U-Haul trailers, and a trip or two back and forth from Chicago to Sioux Falls, SD to cart our accumulated stuff, we’d inherited a proper large Christmas tree from my downsizing in-laws.
It seemed to complement our new living room and its 20-foot cathedral ceilings well, though I joked about buying a tree double the size, and maybe sticking the regular one up on a ledge atop the entryway closet that just happened to have a power outlet handy for lighting.
I still joke about that… but the thing about older trees is that the strands of lights start to flicker and fizz out, and your patience for replacing those tiny fuses and checking each and every bulb amid the prickly plastic needles grows pretty short in an already frenzied holiday season.
So I bought a new large tree. Not a 20-foot one. About the same size as my inlaws’, maybe a foot taller.
We’re three years in on that one now, but I haven’t failed to notice, as the Cub Scout supplies come crowding in, and the laundry piles up, and bed frames get replaced (and old ones stored), and dining table chairs, too (and stored), that the basement storeroom is getting crowded. Most notably with three artificial Christmas tree boxes.
And there seem to be two mini trees added to our holiday forest that end up getting placed somewhere choice, like the shelf over the hall bathroom toilet.
Yeah, we need to organize a garage sell-off when the weather gets sunny, and people are inclined to think ahead to Christmas. Or else cart the whole bunch off the dump. But I end up fantasizing, first, about a Christmas where we just hook them all up, a tree in every room electricity bill be damned, and give them a holly jolly sendoff.
Cause the newer tree has had this thing, the last couple Christmases, where I plug it in and see the middle strands are dark, and I fuss with fuses, and tighten bulbs, and then generally ignore it and about two hours in, when we’re hanging ornaments, a circuit gets completed and the thing lights up.
It may be time for a new tree….