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Surviving Our Family Christmas Tree Weekend
web posted December 5, 2011
COLUMN – This past Saturday was
in December and marked our annual family trip to pick out the perfect
Christmas tree and get it decorated was as much fun as a weekend with
the Griswold's. It started off well with a trip to Wright's Tree Farm
in Ward. The weather was nice and the Wright family made the trip
enjoyable and the hot chocolate was perfect.
We took the hayride to the area where the Carolina Sapphires were
located and walked up to our first choice, a full, well shaped, 11 1/2
foot tree. However, with so many trees we did our due diligence and
looked them all over and critiquing each as if the tree was going to be
a fixture in our home for the next five years. We've spent less time
picking out a living room suit.
After almost two hours we finally made our choice, it was a glorious
moment, and chose the very first tree we started out with. The workers
cut it down, bagged it, and loaded it atop of the Tahoe and we headed
That pretty much sums up the good part of the weekend.
Now, there are a couple things I knew were going to happen before we
even unloaded the tree. Our son-in-law is almost as big a Georgia fan
as I am a Gamecock and the Bulldogs were playing in the SEC
Championship against LSU at 4 pm. Needless to say, anything not done by
kickoff was not going to take place until halftime or the game ends.
So we get our handy-dandy tree stand and fight with a much larger
opponent, the tree, and try to get it in place and the bolts tightened.
Of course, needing far more eyes than the ones under the tree turning
the bolts, and the pair from my son-in-law trying to hold the tree in
place, my wife and daughters disappear and the pre-game show is already
on the TV. So we did our best and in walks the women who start fussing
because the tree is crooked, it was in the wrong place, and I
supposedly had a bad attitude.
Too bad, the game was on and the men took a break. Well, until the tree
fell on my son-in-law. A quick fix was in store and there's nothing
about a crooked Christmas tree that can't be fixed with a couple of
cement blocks. That should hold it until half-time, and it did.
Halftime comes and with the Bulldogs in the lead, the still crooked
tree is at least moved across the room to the spot we always place our
tree. Of course, the "wrong spot" was the place my lovely bride wanted
it placed this year. The game is back on so all work comes to a halt.
Once the thrashing is delivered to the Bulldogs, and with the aid of
the ladies, we finally get the tree placed, straight and true, and fill
the stand with water. My daughter, her husband, and the most adorable
granddaughter ever, head home to set up their tree - a far more
manageable seven foot cedar. About an hour later she sends my bride a
text with it all decorated and a cute little comment about how easy it
was and my bride hands me her cell phone.
Reminder to self, buy wife a new cell phone.
Time for the lights and decorations, which was held over for Sunday
because you just can't ruin a weekend in just one day. So the million
or so feet of tiny little bulbs are checked to make sure they work
before the are put on the tree. As expected, most don't work and all
the mystical words uttered while jiggling the lights were, of course,
This calls for a trip into town by my bride to purchase more lights. I
suggested LED's because they cost less to operate and last longer than
a month. Having no luck finding LED's, my bride makes another change in
the decorating of the Christmas tree and buys colored lights - she
always has nothing but white in the past.
She arrives home with two packs of Christmas lights. Yes, two packs. I
look at the packs, look at this gigantic tree, look at the lights, look
back at the tree, and hand them to our son and walk out without saying
a word. He puts the lights on the tree and my bride looks at the tree
and makes the discovery of the century. "We need more
This time it is our son who is sent to purchase more lights. It is
nightfall now and the lights are still not on the tree and come
you-know-what or high water, the tree must be completed before we go to
The only member of the family that gets to sit this wonderful part out
is our youngest daughter who is studying for her exams at USC-Aiken
starting tomorrow. I want to go back to college every fall semester
from now on.
Finally all the lights are on the tree to the wife's satisfaction and
it is time to decorate. First, out come the Santa heads. As I mentioned in a
much earlier column, my wife collects beheaded jolly old St. Nicks.
Some years I see her giving me a look that makes me think she wants
mine up there before the decorating is over.
After the use of two ladders, countless trips up and down them, the
tree was done. It was beautiful. Everything was just right and the
twinkle of the lights gave a warm feeling that it was all worth it.
Time to take a picture of our family Christmas tree.
Except this one spot of the tree needed "something". So I was handed an
ornament and told where to place it. Just as I did, you just know it
had to be me, it happened. The entire tree went dark. All those
twinkling lights vanished. Panic set in. For the next few minutes my
bride and I played the role of Margo and Todd from
After testing each strand, our son found it was the first strand that
the problem. It was removed from the circuit, but left on the tree, and
the rest lit back up and were rearranged.
Christmas was saved!
After we admired the tree we then went
on with the rest of our night and I got to work writing this column.
Then when I was almost finished I was summoned to the great room. The
tree had fallen, decorations were everywhere, many broken, the lights
were all tangled, and water was spilling out all over.
I could only clap at the sight. We shoved it back upright, cleaned up
the water. And gave up for the night.
All I can think of is who thought up this tree thing to begin with?
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