It’s beginning to look like Stepford Christmas!
“YES! I got my way! I got my way!” husband-head cried out victoriously while dancing around the living room with clenched fists raised over his head. “YAY for me! I WIN! This is going to be the best Christmas EVER!”I sat on the couch and watched his little show, not wanting to admit defeat.He was excited because I had finally agreed to get a fake Christmas tree this year – something I have always sworn I would never do.”It doesn’t have that fresh pine smell. It doesn’t look natural. It’s not traditional. It’s just so … fake!” I complained every year when he suggested it.”Yes, and it doesn’t dry out and drop pine needles all over the floor, you don’t have to constantly put water in it – which spills onto the presents – and it doesn’t fall over,” he countered.
He was hitting some sore spots in that last year I had insisted we get our live tree right after Thanksgiving. But two weeks later, we had to go back and get another one because the first tree had completely dried out and was a major fire hazard.”It’s just not quite as fun decorating the tree the second time around, is it?” husband-head asked in a rather sarcastic tone of voice.Not that it was the first time we’d decorated the tree twice in one year.Several years ago, a friend of ours used to let us cut down a tree each year from his ranch. This was a holly, jolly moment in which we and a bunch of other friends would trudge through the deep snow looking for the perfect Christmas tree. When we found one, we hacked it down while everyone’s dogs romped around and made yellow snow.It was the scene of a perfect Thomas Kinkade Christmas painting – until we got the tree home.We set up the tree in one of those cheap, grocery store stands, filled it with water and proceeded to put all the decorations on it. Husband-head, still feeling the effects of the brandy that was passed around to stave off the cold outside, was unabashedly singing his version of Christmas carols that included “Police Open UP!” (Feliz Navid), “Frosty the Dopeman,” “Good King What’s-His-Nose,” and “We Wish You a Hairy Fishnut.”It wasn’t five minutes after we finished decorating when we heard a loud thump behind us and turned to see that the tree had completely fallen over and the ornaments strewn all over the floor. Husband-head then had to tether the tree to the wall, making it look more like a hostage situation than a festive celebration. And I won’t even mention the words that were used as we slapped the decorations back on … yet again.
“This wouldn’t have happened if we’d gotten a fake tree,” husband-head hissed through clenched teeth. “I TOLD you this was a bad idea.””I just don’t like faking it,” I insisted. “There are some things in life that should just be real.”This made husband-head laugh.”That’s a funny statement coming from you,” he pointed out. “Little Miss Queen-of-the-Artificial-Everything.”That was a low blow but I knew what he was referring to. There was a point in my life when I had hair extensions, colored contacts, acrylic fingernails, a fake tan and a padded bra. “Does, like, your mother even recognize you?” a girlfriend had asked at the time. “Because you’re, like, scaring me, dude. There’s this movie called the ‘Stepford Wives’ …” But like hot pants and high heels, those things have since been surrendered to the days of my youth. I will admit that I still color my hair to cover the grays, but that’s about it. These days it’s all about comfort and convenience.
So when husband-head suggested we get a pre-lit, artificial tree this year, I found it hard to say no. “I don’t have to sweep up the needles?” I mused, trying to talk myself into it. “I don’t have to water the bottom and we don’t have to strangle it to the wall?””Nope,” husband-head assured me. “All we do is put the pieces together and plug it in. It doesn’t get much easier than that.”Still, I felt like a traitor by succumbing to an artificial tree.But a few days later, I actually began to appreciate the ease of the new fake tree. There were no dried needles, no watering mess and it looked as good and green as the day we put it up.”I wonder if they make fake husbands or pets like this,” I mused out loud. “There was the movie I saw once called the ‘Stepford Wives’ …”Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.
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