The 18 Foot Tree, Because My Husband is Clark Griswold
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.