We were going to get a tree two weeks ago. But it rained. And then he went out of town. And then it rained again.
And then we really got to thinking about this whole tree business.
Christianity is good at fitting in. "Hey, are you guys celebrating the equinox and the fertility of the earth? What a coincidence! This is the time we celebrate the rebirth of our one G-d! Well, I guess He's really three-- it's kinda complicated. Let me tell you a little more about it..." the result is that the world ends up with a lot of Christians, and we end up with Ishtar eggs and bunnies, a carryover from the pagan celebration our Easter (wow, it even sounds the same) has displaced.
It's much the same with Christmas. I mean, what does the ritualistic sacrifice and adornment of a pine tree have to do with the birth of Christ? Not a whole lot. But it's a German tradition, passed down from ages past, and people are loathe to let go of it.
Truth is, I've walked many paths, religion-wise, and the traditions are what make the season come alive for me. I just love having a real tree in the house for the holidays. But the idea of killing things to celebrate the return on the son or even the return of the sun has always struck me as odd. I mean, it bugs me every year, but each year the scent of freshly-killed tree wins out.
So, as the holidays approached, we çonsidered getting an artificial tree. It may not be any better for the environment in the long run, but at least no animals were poisoned with pesticides or displaced by a Christmas tree crop rotation. There was a sweet one on Amazon, but I had a lot of difficulty justifying the cost: $250. Sure, it got tremendous reviews. And it used LED lights which saved electricity. And it was originally $500. And if you really thought about it, at $40-$50 a tree, it would pay for itself in 5 or 6 years. But $250!
As I was thinking about it, my computer froze up on me again. AAAAARGHGHGHHGH. It's been doing this for weeks now. (I've been waiting for my new power supply to arrive.) I took it as a sign.
We looked at the fake plastic trees our local chain store pharmacy had to offer. ICK. And so expensive! They wanted $90 for some lead coated plastic loosely wrapped around lethal metal spikes! A gift depository and medieval torture device? It's two, two, two gifts in one!
We hemmed. We hawed (what does that mean, anyway?)*, and finally-- we decided to go for the $250 tree on Amazon. After all, according to their site, we still had hours left to order it and still get free two day shipping (we've got Prime). And it really was quite nice. I put it into my cart. I closed my eyes. I pressed the button. Hooray! I added the hohosaver for $25 off, and then I saw it, atop my cart... "This item will arrive AFTER December 26." Wait, what? There was no option for two day shipping! I hit "enter" to see if hohosaver would change anything-- and the sale went through! Ack! No! I canceled the order and tried again with a different tree, one that also advertised its availability to arrive before the holidays. Again, there was no option for two day shipping. I was livid. How utterly disappointing! I went to drop them a note, so that they could fix that glaring error, and my computer froze again. AAAAGHGHGHGHGH!!
"Screw Christmas," I pouted as I plopped down on the couch.
"Aw, honey, want me to stop by Target on the way home and see what they have? If they don't have anything, we can just pick up a real tree down the street on the way back."
So that was the plan. We would go to Target. Except we never made it there. Paul picked up Maxine on the way home (she had forgotten her meds for a couple of days and really wanted some company while she was recovering from the experience), and we all headed to Lo-Lo-Lowes on the advice of a friend.
They had a $17 tree. We strongly considered it. It was slim, and the "needles" were that thin plastic you usually see on inexpensive artificial trees. It really wasn't so bad, especially consdering the price. And then we saw the sweeeeeet tree. It was big and bushy. It has those pretty white beveled lights. It had real-looking needles at the ends instead of that plastic wrap stuff. And it was $350.
We did a price check. $175! Well, it was a chuck of money, but it was better than the $250 we had planned on spending.
We hemmed and hawed again (well not really, check the footnote, but you know what I mean). If we went for the $17 tree, we could get whatever tree we wanted when there were huge sales everywhere after the holidays... if we went for the $175 tree, and we could have quite a nice tree right now. Hrm. Maxine finally decided for us-- the little tree would just look too sad and little in our big livingroom. It just had to be the big tree.
We bought her a 48" sparkly fiber optic tree for her place in exchange for her professional opinion. (Hey it was only $22. We thought.)
We went up to the register. Just then, Zack called. It was after 8pm and he reeeeeeeaaaaaaaallllllly needed to go to the mall to shop for something he needed to give tomorrow. Is this the same young man who could've gone to the mall earlier, but didn't because he slept until 3pm? Hm, I think it is. Still, I'm totally a sucker for that kid, so you know I was going to come to his rescue (he knew it too, heh). So we decided to go to Ruby Tuesday's and eat at the mall while Zack picked up what he needed. We made it clear that he'd be paying for dinner in repayment for our help, and that we'd be eating and drinking like kings and queens. *URP!*
So, anyway, we're heading to the car, and Paul says "you won't believe this. I even did the right thing and checked to make sure they charged us for the correct item, and they definitely did. But you won't believe this."
The $350 tree was $87. Maxine's tree was $11. This was amazing.
For those of you just joining us, I LOVE a good bargain. So I was positively giddy!
We went to Ruby Tuesday's (we had burgers, and paid for the whole thing-- though Paul truly does love to torment Zack, he rarely holds him to the hard lessons in life, and instead makes him just think he'll hold him to them for a period of time-- merry Christmas, kiddo) and then zipped home. The tree went up surprisingly easily. Only the fluffing took some time (and even that went quite quickly).
It's STUNNING. Seriously. This is a gorgeous tree. The photo doesn't do it justice.
I'll eventually get some ornaments on it. They're in the boxes that are behind ALL the other boxes in the garage. Of course.
And right now? I'm about to put in that new power supply.**
Looks like it will be a lovely Christmas after all :)
I hope your holidays are just as bright.
Oh, and to get you in the holiday spirit, here's a wonderful take on an old favourite. Who knew Winter Wonderland and Led Zep's Misty Mountain Hop fit together like hand in glove? Go here and download the MP3 at the bottom. You can thank me later :) Actually, thank helios137! (Thank you, my friend!)
and God bless us, every one
* Interesting! Hem and haw is onomopoetic device that indicates hesitancy in speaking and is thus completely inappropriate for my usage.
** Um, please think good thoughts that I don't fry my motherboard or anything! Tanks :)
*** One more thing-- a wonderful rant on Pachelbel's cannon. Watch it through 'til the end :)