Thursday, December 14, 2006

the tree, she is done.

After being so excited to have a blue spruce this year I am thinking this will be the last. That tree is dangerous! I don't remember needles ever being this sharp. The lights are (gasp!) barely inside the branches because I decided that I like the skin on my hands as free of bleeding holes as possible.

I'm not sure what kind we usually get. Each year it's like I've never bought a tree before...Frasier Fir? Canaan Fir? Douglas Fir? I'm just certain that we never get a blue spruce (too expensive) and absolutely never a white pine because it looks like it belongs growing between the divided lanes in Montgomery Village where the police like to set up a speed trap. "Please Drive 35 in our Hometown!" So, yeah, I don't care for white pines.

Jake serenaded us on various guitars as we each picked through the ornaments hoping to put our own favorites on first. There was nearly a fight to the death over something--I can't even remember what. As I was playing referee, Jake's music was picking up in tempo until I turned to Billiam and said, "I didn't realize our family fights had a soundtrack!" But I love decorating the tree--squabbles, and all.

It was one of my favorite things about Christmas when I was growing up. Until the year (junior high) my mother decided it would be fun to have a tree-trimming party and invite everyone and their cousin to decorate our tree. So we had strangers (ok--people she worked with--lots of them--and people from the neighborhood that we barely knew) pawing through our ornaments and hanging them on our tree then gobbing tinsel on willy-nilly. Man, that pissed me off. I say "pissed me off," but it would be more accurate to say it cut a little chunk of my heart out (could I be more dramatic?). Those of you who know me in real life know that my mother was...unpredictable. Decorating the tree was one of those few things I knew I could count on to be the same (and happy!) each year. Those damn tree-trimming parties ruined that part of Christmas for me until I moved out and had a tree of my own.

Careful, Gretchen. Your issues are showing.

Back to the present...we need to trim the top a few inches because the poor angel is hitting her head on the ceiling, but despite that and the surface lights, I think it looks beautiful. Next year's tree will be more user-friendly, though.

One of my favorite ornaments--a painted wax rocking horse, a gift from my friend, Meredith, when we were kids. It was sheer perfection in my eyes--I was horse-crazy and in love with purple. Somewhere along the way one of the kids decided to bite it. There a little teeth marks across his eye and mane. They add to the charm.



Anonymous lisa said...

Here's my dendrology (study of trees) motto, "firs are friendly, spruces are sticky" or something like that (as I run my hand over the branches and make the kids do the same-well, for the firs). We get balsam firs (we're in the northeast), but frasier firs are popular to the south. Not sure if MD gets trees shipped from north or south! Or grows their own (it'd be frasier then). Oh, and the firs keep their needles longer. If you get out and about to a tree place or an arboretum, get a whiff of white fir (a tree from the western mtns)...OMG it smells SO good (you have to crush the needles a bit, and they are SO SOFT). Sometimes you see it as an xmas tree, but it is $$. And, if you are a beer brewer, the buds make a great substitute for spruce in spruce beer.

12/15/2006 7:27 AM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

Wow, thanks for the info. We go to a tree farm each year and they have frasier, canaan and douglas firs. Then the blue spruces and white pines. Some of the lots have other varieties (as do some other tree farms). I've never come across a white fir but will remember to get a good whiff if I ever do. Sounds wonderful.

12/18/2006 10:00 AM  

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