catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 12, Num 22 :: 2013.11.29 — 2013.12.12


Old tree, new tree

I don’t remember how old I was when I discovered that I was colorblind, but it was after the tradition had been established that I was the one who sorted the branches for my family’s fake Christmas tree. And every year, I sorted the color-coded branches wrong.

You might think that I would compare the actual lengths of the wire-and-bristle branches to ensure that the longest were lower than the shortest, but no. I insisted on sorting by the chipped, color-tipped ends that fit fairly loosely into the central Festivus-style pole. Most years, my family re-sorted the branches to their proper faux-pine hierarchy, but not every year. And still, it didn’t much matter since the amount of garland, lights and ornaments required to fill the gaps between wire branches (think Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree) hid the few out-of-place lengths in the mix.

That tree may have been the best that the 1970s had to offer in fake tree technology, but it was always ugly. And I loved it.

I couldn’t wait to assemble the fake tree. And when my mom finally got her way and convinced my dad to start getting real ones that we cut down ourselves, I insisted upon setting up the fake tree in the basement game room. Once, it stayed up all year long down there.

The tree followed me into marriage. I think my folks were all too willing to give up it up when they agreed to let us have it for my first Christmas as a married man. But that first Christmas celebration together was also the last for my beloved, ugly tree.

When the after-Christmas sales brought all of the new, fake Christmas trees down to half-price, my wife and I bought one. It has lights built right into the lush, full branches and assembles in less than three minutes. Gone are the days of trying to creatively fill the gaps with obscenely large Christmas ornaments or weaving pine garlands into the sparse boughs like so many bald men’s bad hairpieces.

And you might think I would miss it, but I don’t. The traditions of my childhood will always have a soft spot in my memory, but traditions are meant to begin anew when two become one. Besides, I love my new Christmas traditions (buying a new Lego set to use as an ornament each year) way more than I loved poorly assembling a hideous tree from the age of disco.

your comments

comments powered by Disqus