Last year I had the grand idea of getting rid of the oversized artificial tree that my ex had convinced me was better to have than a real tree whose removal from the Christmas tree forest was contributing to the destruction of the ozone. I knew that it was completely environmentally unfriendly to cut a tree down, use it for no more than a week (in my case) to hold lights and make my home smell of real pine and not PineSol. But, I wanted a real tree anyway.

I tried the fake tree thing and hated it. First, I bought the wrong kind of fake tree. I like large full trees and Orchard Supply had a very large, full, artificial tree on sale the very day that I decided to go try my luck at finding something that at least looked real. Well, it did and I bought it. Only, I did not take notice of the effort it would take to put the tree together. I bought the floor model so I saw it taken apart, branch by branch, and placed in its bag to be taken to the register. I saw it taken apart branch by branch. But, it didn’t really register that I would have to put it back together BRANCH by BRANCH. I knew it…but, it just didn’t register. Dangggg it!

That tree had several rows and each row had several branches. The branches had little stickers on the end that were color coded so as to make it easier to figure out which branch went with what row. No problem, right? Wrong, some of the colors were so similar that it could take at least 30 minutes to get them all sorted and laid out to start the build up. (Is this pink or light red?)

The point is that after three Christmases that damn tree was on my nerves. I hated putting it together and I hated taking it apart. One year, I didn’t even put it up. I just decorated the walls, hung lights from the ceiling, wrapped doors like Christmas presents, hung a wreath, put a ribbon across my wall and attached a bow and called it a day. My place was decorated. The kids thought I was crazy but, the next year, they wondered “aren’t we going to wrap the doors, mom?”

I finally broke down and donated the artificial tree to the Salvation Army and bought myself a real tree. Only, ignorance is bliss and I had already acknowledged that cutting down trees for a week’s worth of enjoyment could not be supported in my household. So we started a new family tradition. We bought a planted live tree. The plan was for that tree to grow with the Boy. He would have to water and take care of his tree all year and at Christmas we would bring it into the house to decorate and enjoy for a limited time. After the joy of Christmas has passed, the tree goes back to living in the yard.

Great idea. Except that I don’t really have the greenest thumb and I haven’t ever tried to grow a tree in a pot and it probably needed a bigger pot and sometimes we forgot to water it and although it is still alive, it is probably hanging on by a thread and it hasn’t grown an inch.

Last year I was okay with a miniature tree because I was excited about the potential but, this year I am not too interested in a tree the size of my five-year old being adorned with ornaments meant for a tree at least five times its size.

I started a tradition. The best that I can do is to re-pot the tree this weekend, nurse it as best I can and pray for the best.

Worst case scenario, I will just have to put the not-so-pretty-practically-dead brown side in the corner. Who looks behind the tree anyway, right?

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