Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Tree-less Christmas Tree

In December of 1984, I was living the big life of my first ever boyfriend and my supremely important job at Carvel Ice Cream. I remember going next door to Sav-On and buying a set of mini Christmas Lights (a string of 25) and bringing them back to Carvel, plugging them in and declaring them the most beautiful things I'd ever seen. I strung them around the tiny tree I'd set up in my bedroom, laid in my bed and stared at it for hours. It's almost absurd to think that in the days before all this iCrap we have now, there was a time when MINI LIGHTS were the most new and exciting things we'd ever seen. I was infatuated with the lights, the music, the Miller's Outpost commercials. This was how much I used to love Christmas.

Somewhere along the line (and actually I can narrow it down to the last 7-8 years) I lost my Christmas.
Favorite Lolly pop ornament from early childhood

another favorite

Someone gave me this glass heart when I was a teenager. It was one of those rare moments when I felt someone really "got me"


'09 and '10 were especially hard. I had no energy nor motivation to do anything--no decorating, no tree, no baking. Christmas wore me out. It had swallowed me whole, and spat me out all used up and chewed on. And although I'm writing this on Thanksgiving eve (early infiltration of the holiday season being another irritant), I am hoping that I can retool Christmas to make it palatable once again. It may (and probably should)change completely for me, but being a Scrooge is a drag too.

So the first stop along the way was to deal with the tree issue. I like a tree, but I hate a tree. I like the way it smells for the first 2 days then it stops. And while everyone wants to decorate it, no one wants to clean it up. And they are freaking expensive. For $65 I'd honestly rather go out to dinner. SO...
Once we had these friends who (in addition to a tree) strung a series of parallel lines of mono-filament and hung all their antique ornaments on them just against a plain wall. It was stunning. Fast forward to this year and I tried to do the same thing on our giant sheet metal bulletin board, and it was an resounding fail. Ornaments were too heavy, strings sagged, too much assistance from tape and magnets...yuck. It looked horrible. It needed more structure, but I was hell bent not to spend any more money. After all, I'd just dropped $5 of 2 sets of lights...whew!

Timing was on my side, for Sean had just taken down a part of our fence that had been extended with some rabbit wire left over from the chicken coop days. I took that, unbent it (harder than it sounds) and held it to the steel board with the aforementioned magnets. Then I clipped it into a tree shape, outlined it with the lights and re-hung everything. I like it.

Cool things about it:
It is right above an outlet...no crawling to plug in!
It doesn't look half bad UN-lit.
It doesn't need water.
It doesn't drop needles.
Ornaments are really SEEN.
It doesn't take up an inch of floor space.
It looks hip, sleek, modern AND traditional all at once.

It could be made of chicken wire as well. And when Christmas is over, it can go on the garden fence as a trellis.

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