The 18 Foot Tree, Because My Husband is Clark Griswold

Hey Griswold. Where do you think you’re gonna put a tree that big?
Bend over and I’ll show you.

Okay, Kurt is not at ALL like Clark Griswold, but ever since we bought our house with its 23′ great room ceiling, our Christmas Trees have been, well…obnoxious.

Christmas Tree setup 18 feet Griswold National Lampoon Christmas Vacation Druzgal
Obnoxiously giant Christmas tree looks so pretty as it gets dark out.

To his credit, he is also Frugal Druzgal, so we would never pay for sucha tree. The previous owner of our property thought among his many other failed ideas (but good for him for trying) that a Christmas tree nursery was a good idea. The original deciduous landscape now sports several varieties of fir and pine, and we try to cull the trees he planted way too close together when we take one each year.

This year he picked an 18 foot tall concolor. Concolors, you might remember me telling you from my post about licking a birch tree, are my favorite tree.

Christmas Tree setup 18 feet Griswold National Lampoon Christmas Vacation
18 feet is close enough to the top of our 23′ ceiling to be, well…obnoxious

The first year we put up a tree in the chalet, we picked out a 16′ concolor. Kurt and I did everything ourselves. We cut it, dragged it (across mud!), cleaned it, put it up and decorated it.

Clark, Audrey’s frozen from the waist down.
That’s all part of the experience, honey.

We learned over the years little things to help handling a tree this large: string the center lights while it’s still on its side; rig a makeshift ornament hanger with an extension pole, duct tape and a hook; angle and lift simultaneously, carefully walking your hands to an upright position.

When Kurt and I do it alone, there’s much swearing (from me), griping (ditto) and crying (also me) but it gets done. In recent years, Kurt has brought in his parents to help. They’re both now 70, but the three of them work well together. Although my upper body is (arguably) stronger than either of them (oh I’m going to get it if either of them finds out I just said that)  they usually delegate me to “eyeball” duties. This means I circle the outside of their trio and tell them the proximity of the tree to the ceiling light, the windows or other objects, while they get the tree lifted up and into our equally obnoxious steel tree stand.

Christmas Tree setup 18 feet Griswold National Lampoon Christmas Vacation
Kurt and his dad setting up the equally obnoxiously huge steel stand for the tree

They both have more patience and stamina than I. I pretty much stay the hell out of the way when the three Druzgals are working together on our Christmas tree. They’re all three alphas, and I’m so far down the list of omegas that I think in that group dynamic I also take orders from the dog. But they get the job done beautifully. There is no swearing. You can occasionally cut the tension with, well, a chainsaw if I’m being honest, but it’s a much more peaceful process than when it’s just Kurt and I, and my unfiltered mouth.

I can’t say enough how much I really, truly appreciate my in-laws and all the things they do. It’s been fascinating watching the interaction of Kurt’s family after growing up in mine. There are so many things to admire, not the least of which is the way that they refuse to allow fighting within their family dynamic.  Beautiful.

Christmas Tree setup 18 feet Griswold National Lampoon Christmas Vacation Druzgal
Alpha 2 decided we needed a fire to celebrate a successful tree lighting. Purrrty.

So the tree’s up, shining in all its holiday hyperbole, and as I look admiringly (or is it sheepishly) up from the road a quarter mile down the hollow, all I can think is…

Thith tree is a thymbol of the thpirit of the Griswold family Chrithmath.

I hope you’ve enjoyed photos of the tree and decorating. The full gallery is below. Click on any pic to expand or just enjoy the little circle thingies. I recommend clicking and getting the full experience in the slideshow. I’ll give you some photos of the house and decorations from this and past years maybe after we get a little snow to pretty up the lights.

Love, Marla

Today’s quotes courtesy of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, 1989

P.S. Speaking of Christmas, still need a Christmas gift for a reader you love? I’m GIVING away two signed, hardcover books by bestselling author Candice Millard, and they will reach you in time for Christmas. Here’s the page with info.

5 thoughts on “The 18 Foot Tree, Because My Husband is Clark Griswold

  1. please tell me where you got that stand and how much it cost. I have been tiring to find a stand like thab for years

    1. Hi Dominique,
      It was actually a gift from some friends of my husband. They made it.
      I’ll ask them for details and put them up so that you can either make one or have it made.
      I know what you mean. We had been looking everywhere for one and couldn’t find one strong enough or leakproof enough or stable enough, and I guess we had complained to enough people that his friends decided they needed to make it!

  2. I’m lucky to have nice in laws too, they are always there when you need them and away when you don’t, they don’t nose in our business.
    The tree is beautiful, but I don’t wanna think the mess it leaves once it starts to dry off.
    I’m not putting one this year, my dog would eat it, still a puppy.

  3. Loved that story! I love Mr. and Mrs. Druzgal’s matching outfits too. They really are cool people! How about a pic from the outside looking in? I bet it is so pretty seeing that tree at night lit up through the window! Now, I’m in the Christmas spirit!

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