Thursday, December 5, 2013

When Fake Christmas Trees Attack

 (Author's note: The following events are all true.)

This statement may surprise some but there was a time I actually looked forward to Christmas. When my kids were younger and believed the whole Santa Claus scam I loved the look of expectation in their eyes right before they eagerly went to bed knowing the next morning they would find a neat array of loot next the tree. Some might call it a form of quasi-child abuse but the one tradition I kept from my own surreal childhood was the habit of giving my kids dire warnings of how Santa had this special piece of equipment that could detect whether or not children were actually asleep in a house he was about to visit.

I told them this device could detect a child even slightly awake which would force Santa to abort and proceed directly to the next house on his schedule. Nothing terrifies your average, well-off middle class American child than the idea that Santa might skip his or her house over some transgression. On the other hand nothing drives your average, well-off middle class parents insane like a whiny kid worried over what Santa might, or might not bring. So, if anyone has ever wondered why Santa rarely skips a kid's house no matter how much of a spoiled rotten monster that child might be there is your answer.

I cannot speak for any other family but Christmas Eve night was the time you could hear a pin drop once the younger Darth Spoilboy and Darth Wiggles were officially put to bed. There was none of the usual desperate requests for water, emergency bathroom visits, or the whines of, “but I can't sleep.” I would go as far as to say a metaphorical bomb could have gone off outside both my kid's bedroom doors on Christmas Eve and they would not dare to step outside.

It was during these blissfully quiet and absolutely peaceful moments that the colorful lights from the Christmas tree, the warmth emanating from the fireplace, and the lingering effects from a couple of bottle of wine that would arouse the friskier nature of my lovely spouse. Yes, screw the roundabout attempt at some half-assed literary description, it was during these times daddy got his Christmas present on the living room floor between the fireplace and the tree. Such were the times when I actually looked forward to dragging my family's fake Christmas tree down from the attic and assembling the overly complicated but beautiful simulated tree.

Now times are quite different, both my young Sith Lords know the real deal about Santa. They each still have a Christmas wish list but instead of having the fat old man dressed in red act as an intermediary they just come straight to my wife and me to plead and whine about why they deserve such goodies. Whereas my wife and I once wrestled naked next the roaring fireplace on Christmas Eve we now just go to bed early out of simple exhaustion while our children stay up to watch television or play video games. The one unchanging constant is that last Sunday it was once again time to assemble the old Christmas tree, but even that has become problematic.

The first problem with the family fake Christmas tree started a few years ago when the color coded bands on the end of the various branches began to fall off. These bands corresponded with a dot of the same color on the metal pole that acted as the trunk of the tree. Throw in wear and tear on the branches from years of assembly, disassembly, and rough storage up in the attic where the huge zippered bag it is stored in is often moved around whenever my wife feels the urge to rearrange the bands have come loose along with the dots on the trunk being rubbed off. As the years have progressed this has made assembly more complicated, especially when the branches themselves have become bent and deformed.

Still though, being a persistent trooper I would eventually get it assembled even though if you looked closely it was easy to see a few of the branches were in the wrong locations on the trunk. My usual response to any kind of questioning look from my wife was that the final result was close enough for government work. My wife would not so graciously allow the misshapen tree to pass because by that time I had already cussed up a storm over the deformed branches and the multitude of plastic evergreen needles that now covered a good portion of the living room carpet.

This year though I somehow assembled the damn tree in record time with all the branches in the right location. The wife and daughter then decorated the tree and with that was done I laid down on the couch early Sunday afternoon for a nap.

From my position on the couch the top of my head was only a few inches away from the tree. Not long after I began my nap I swear I started to hear the ornaments on the tree jiggling ever so slightly. My usual curiosity should have forced me to investigate but instead I was already sufficiently warm and fuzzy with approaching nap time that I ignored the subtle disturbance.

Not long after I slipped away into an afternoon dreamland one of the three metal legs of the tree stand gave way with the tree falling over and for all intents and purposes viciously attacking yours truly as I slept. Somehow both my wife and daughter saw the incident because as I pushed my metal and plastic assailant off me I found them laughing their asses off.

It took about two hours to get the metal stand bent back into something approaching the proper shape and the tree back up. It is far from perfect and unfortunately as much as I abhor the idea of joining the insane after Christmas shopping hordes my wife has declared we will need to go buy a new tree and I am forced to agree. Yes, I fear another fake Christmas tree attack more than rabid American consumers desperate to go deeper in debt buying even more crap they do not need. That, for me, is quite the profound and unsettling statement. 

Just showing where the Christmas tree is located in relation to the couch. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you should be able to see how it is still leaning to one side.


MikeP said...

So this is how the Zombie Christmas Tree Apocalypse begins...

The Bug said...

I don't know what's funnier - this story or MikeP's comment :)

Reminds me of the time I knocked our tree over. I was trying to read the name on the giant present in the back & that sucker just fell totally over. My mom thought it was pretty hilarious too.

Life As I Know It Now said...

That provided me with a few good laughs BB. The cartoon first off and then the idea of your being attacked by the fake tree. And then I see that the dog has taken your place on the couch. :)

Akelamalu said...

We have a similar tree and I have a feeling ours will only last another year! We used to tell our boys the same thing about Santa when they were young and it worked. On Christmas morning I would keep them waiting outside the lounge whilst Himself went in first to check if Santa had been, actually to get ready with the camera to capture their expression as they walked in.

What did you use to put behind the door to stop the kids coming in if by chance they woke up whilst you were enjoying your Christmas present? LOL

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Sorry, BB, but I laughed at your misfortune, and if I'd been watching with your wife and daughter, I would have laughed even harder. Look on the bright side. At least you didn't get attacked by a rabid aluminum tree. That might have drawn blood.

Mr. Charleston said...

This is a familiar story, this whole thing of assembling the thing in record time. It's because you've done it enough times to have figured it out. So, I'll wager dollars to donuts (Wait, that value relation no longer works!).. I'll wager donuts to dollars that next year the wife will announce... we need a new tree!

Pixel Peeper said...

I wonder if Christmas trees falling over is a common occurrence. We had one tip over once...with the cat still in it.

We got a new tree a few years ago (Home Depot, right after Christmas, half off) - the newer trees are much easier to deal with and come together pretty quick. It's also more fun if you drink something from a bottle that has a %-sign somewhere on the label while doing the assembling. ;-)

Beach Bum said...

Mike P: Yeah, I'm careful around iyt still. I don't trust the thing.

The Bug: Truthfully, I want to go to one of those table top trees that are no bigger than two feet. My wife says no.

Life As I Know It: That is Dixie the Dog, a real pain in the butt when it comes to taking her out for a walk only to have her pee on the carpet thirty minutes later.

Akelamalu: We'd put a chair in front of the kids doors. And yes, there were a few times that my wife and I had to quickly wrap ourselves up in a couple of blankets.

Susan: Good point!

Charleston: You didn't read the last paragraph.

Pixel: I'm hoping whatever new tree we buy will be easier to put together.