Time for fake trees in a marshmallow world
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
“We’ve really changed since we’ve gotten older, haven’t we?” I asked Husband-Head as we decorated the Christmas tree. “I mean, our holiday traditions are totally different now from what they used to be.”
Husband-Head just nodded as he hung an ornament on the tree.
“I know. We used to go to the bar and drink hot buttered rums during the holidays,” he agreed. “And when we woke up, it was a new year. …”
We’ve always enjoyed the festive season, but things are now – shall we say – tamer than they used to be.
“Remember when we used to go tramp through the snow in the mountains on our friends’ ranch with mugs of hot chocolate and the dogs running around and cut down our own tree?” I reminisced. “I loved the pine scent from the tree and the pine cones. …”
“Yeah, and remember how you freaked out about all the pine needles on the carpet when we hauled the thing into the living room?” Husband-Head recalled. “And how the the dogs would sniff all around the tree and pee on it and the whole place stunk like pee and pine cones? Yup … those were the good ol’ days.”
Then, of course, came the fun, festive, happy holiday part where we would decorate the tree with ornaments while belting out Christmas tunes at the top of our lungs. These songs typically include old favorites such as “Police Open UP!” (Feliz Navidad), “Frosty the Dopeman,” “Good King What’s-His-Nose,” and “We Wish You a Hairy Fish-Nut.”
“It’s the most … wonderful time … to drink BEER!” is always one of Husband-Head’s favorites.
And after decorating the tree, we would stand back and admire our handiwork and cheers ourselves with a glass of ho-ho.
As we stood there admiring our handiwork, the tree, inevitably, would topple over and we’d have to start all over again while some very un-Christmas-like words spewed out of our mouths.
It was a few years ago when Husband-Head suggested we get a fake, pre-lit tree. At first, I was completely opposed to the idea.
“Absolutely not!” I protested. “I want the pine smell! I want to hear you lose it while stringing the little lights and trying to figure out which of the hundreds of bulbs is the one that makes the whole string not work! It’s tradition!”
On the other hand, an artificial tree would mean no going out in the cold, no needles on the carpet and the animals would probably not pee on it. …
So now I’m all for the fake tree.
This year, Husband-Head brought the box up from the basement and bingo! The tree was up in a matter of moments.
Then we turned the holiday music channel on the TV and proceeded to decorate.
“This is the best ornament, so it goes right in the middle,” Husband-Head announced as he hung his personal Irish Santa holding a bunch of beer mugs.
Next came his football ornament, followed by a fish decoration and ornaments a friend had made as replicas of our two dogs.
I hung up a wooden lucky German mushroom and a porcelain Raggedy Andy.
“Your ornaments aren’t half as cool as mine,” Husband-Head said smugly, watching me decorate.
“Yeah, but mine are steeped in tradition,” I shot back. “I’ve had some of these since I was a little girl.”
“THAT was a long time ago,” Husband-Head muttered under his breath.
Then Husband-Head began singing loudly to the music channel along with Dean Martin.
“And the sun is red, like a … PUMPKIN HEAD!” he sang loudly. “It’s a time for play … it’s a whipped cream day … In winter it’s a marshmallow world!”
In the past, we have tried to analyze this song.
“Pumpkins aren’t red and why is the world like a marshmallow?” Husband-Head has questioned. “Although a whipped cream day could be kinda fun …”
“I think he’s referring to the fact that the snow makes everything white,” I offered. “Or else, he’s just plain kinky.”
So once the tree was up and trimmed, the only thing it was missing were some presents underneath.
“What do you want for Christmas this year?” I asked Husband-Head. “Some reading glasses? Arch supports for your shoes? Ben-Gay?”
Husband-Head just scowled.
“Those aren’t very traditional presents,” he pouted.
“Yeah, but neither are fake trees and Christmas songs about living in a world of marshmallows,” I pointed out as I sprayed the fake tree with fake pine-scented aerosol.
Heidi Rice is a columnist for the Citizen Telegram and the Post Independent. Her column runs every Thursday in the CT and every Friday in the PI. Visit her website at http://www.heidirice.com to see more columns or to purchase her book collection. Contact Heidi at email@example.com.
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