Sunday, November 30, 2014

Don't get your tinsel in a tangle


The next time an interviewer asks me what my long-term goals are, I'm going to say to own a house large enough that I can have a bedroom or large closet dedicated solely to my Christmas tree, so I never have to take it down. I can just take it out in December and put it back, still completely decorated, in January.

Now, any of you who know me may wonder why I am talking about Christmas in November -- or before Dec. 15, which is normally when I stop protesting the Yuletide incursion into Thanksgiving, And Halloween. And Independence Day. 

But this year I decided there were more important things than judging the Black Friday shoppers or savagely punching the buttons on the radio when a Christmas song came on. (Actually, I'm still doing those things.) See, in recent years I've started buying Christmas tree ornaments as souvenirs, so I have a six-week-vacation's worth of ornaments to hang on my tree. 

The left is from Zion National Park; the right is from Budapest. 
Yes, my friends, I have the true meaning of Christmas: reliving my exciting moments as I decorate the tree. (I of course jest. The true meaning of Christmas is to remind us of the seminal moment in this world's history when the Savior of the world was born, setting in motion the earthly events that made eternal life for all.)

So I decorated my tree. I had to buy a new one; in triaging what I could fit in my station wagon to drive home from Utah, I left the 8-year-old fake tree. I wanted to buy said tree before Thanksgiving, so I wouldn't have to set foot in a department store for the rest of this year, but when I arrived at Target the beautiful, full tree they had on their website was a less beautiful, not full tree in real life. I looked around and eventually settled on a taller, full, unlit tree, knowing as I walked the tree to the cashier I was going to regret not getting a lighted tree.

Fortunately, it was not as painful as I remembered it being from when I was growing up. I suspect this is because I am far less of a Christmas tree light perfectionist than my dearly descriptive father. 


L-R: My Disney snow globe collection that stopped growing three years ago (read about that drama here), surrounding the Berlin-born nutcracker; in the middle is a little nativity that, when I put a tea candle inside, will light up a tiny stained glass nativity, then the Santa I painted in fifth grade and the actual nativity. The TV stand that does not hold my TV (I don't own a TV) is the only available space I had, so all my mantle decorations went here. Plus the mistletoe. I haven't decided what to do with that yet.

Once I finished unwrapping the tree branches, I put the tree up where I wanted it, looked at it and decided I didn't like it there, so I moved it elsewhere. Throughout it all Pippi was very excited -- so excited that at one point she started tearing through the living room like a mad dog, which had me very concerned for the Christmas tree.


Then she settled down. 
It's an egg. With edelweiss on it. It's the only edelweiss ornament I could find in Salzburg. Apparently the decorated eggs are a thing in Austria.

It was really fun to pull out all the ornaments and remember my travels. I went on some great hikes in Monument Valley, Zion and Carlsbad Caverns. The day I bought ornaments in Budapest I ate langos (fried dough with sour cream and cheese) and found a street marzipan dealer and proceeded to eat my third meal of the day before the clock struck noon.

The Royal Delft china pattern, which is well-known in Amsterdam.
It also made me sad. I want to travel. I haven't gone anywhere exciting in a year. I'd planned to go on vacation the first week of December (read: this week), but then I switched jobs and don't have vacation yet. I do have almost two weeks off at Christmas, and while it's more expensive to travel over Christmas I think I could squeeze a week in Nicaragua into my budget. But ever since Googling "is it safe for a woman to travel alone in Nicaragua" and reading stories about people being held up at machete point (it's an agricultural country, that's why they have machetes), I'm a wee bit nervous. I could just go to Costa Rica, but it would be harder to squeeze into my budget and Mark and Britnee at One World One Year have inspired me to go beyond the tourist traps. All of this, by the way, needs to be decided in about the next 72 hours, because my holiday starts in three weeks.

This is a cuckoo clock, which originated in the Black Forest in Germany. The ornament comes from the largest Christmas store in the U.S., courtesy of two old roommates Krista and Mary Lu. 
But, happiness and sadness aside, here's my appropriately quirky and mismatched tree, uneven, funkily placed lights and all. I tried to take a panoramic, but it ended up looking really chunky, and I didn't want my Christmas tree to feel self-conscious about its dimensions, so I picked its best side.

Oh, who am I kidding? All of its sides are good.

1 comment:

  1. Merry Christmas Heidi. And you didn't go directly to bed after we hung up last night. And good luck with Pippi and your tree.

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