Thursday, December 09, 2010

Jon and Laura's achilles heel

Every relationship has an achilles heel. Jon and mine.... real Christmas trees.

Let me explain. When we met, we lived in Chicago in the city with no car. Obtaining a Christmas tree meant WALKING to a place that sells Christmas trees, picking one out, carrying it in FREEZING COLD, hauling it up the fire escape, then setting it up in tiny apartments. And don't even get me started about taking it down.

Also don't get me started on Jon and messes. I love that Jon is a neat freak but he can not stand the tiny pine needles everywhere.

Everything was going kind of okay with real trees until Jon had back surgery. Then guess who was responsible for carrying the tree in the cold? It's one of those crazy realities of our relationship - Jon is 6'4", but with a bad back, my shortie self does the heavy lifting.

After Jon's back surgery, EVERY SINGLE real Christmas tree experience involved:
  • sweating
  • yelling
  • cursing
  • huffing and puffing and muttering under breath
  • silent treatment for the rest of the night
It was so bad we actually had to sit down and have a "talk" about getting along when putting up a real Christmas tree for babies' first Christmas.

Real Christmas tree for Jon and Laura = Merry Effing Christmas!!!

We finally decided it was crazy to do this and got a very nice pre-lit fake tree. BUT BUT BUT that doesn't mean our tree is not special. Every year since Jon and I met, we have exchanged ornaments with each other. Every ornament on our tree has significant meaning.

This ornament is from the year we got married. Our reception was at a botanical garden in Florida where they grow orchids:


This ornament is from the year Jon's sister got their dog Rudy. We dog sat Rudy and loved/love him:


In continuing the tradition, when the boys were born, we picked out ornaments. Now they pick out their own. Guess what they picked this year?? Captain Rex and Darth.


We will most likely always have a fake tree, but like Charlie Brown's, it is a special tree. Every year as we decorate the tree, we take out ornaments and reflect on those years together. This is our 11th Christmas together and the pile of ornaments is huge!

This year was particularly sweet as we explained to the boys what each ornament meant. It's not a real tree, but I wouldn't have it any other way.



HeatherV said...

I love that cursing is part of your holiday decorating. I can't imagine a tree not filled with personally meaningful ornaments.

My 3rd grade suntan pantyhose elf has a place of honor.

I'm impressed with the presents, are they all Star Wars themed per chance?

Irene said...

I am sold on the fake tree! Looks awesome.

And I didn't know you had that ornament tradition with Jon! And you already have presents under the tree! You are so on the ball.

thellfamily said...

This is awesome. Perhaps the thing I loved about my high school boyfriend's family was this same tradition. They had been together 20 or so years and each ornament had special, family-history significance. Made me want to be Catholic myself! Great that you will have this with the kids.

Joanna said...

I love the ornament tradition. My mom did that with each of us kids when we were growing up and I still have all of my "special ornaments". I intended to to it for Michael, but it didn't work out very well.

As for fake trees? Every year I'm a little sad as I carry the box up from storage...then, I click together the tree and in 20 minutes I have a fully lit tree. That's when I fall in love with fake trees all over again.

Maria said...

We are a real tree family, but sometimes (in ridiculously freezing weather) I wish we were a fake tree family. Nothing beats the smell! Your tree is gorgeous, real or not. Every year we let the grils pick an ornament and we give them each an ornament. Usually the ones we give them ar all the same, but in a different color or style, (we started buying one the same for us too when I realized that some day they will move out and I will have no ornaments left!) and write the date on the bottom so they can remember how old they were when they got a specific ornament. I love these traditions.

Janna said...


Your tree is beautiful (and so are your floors - can't wait to see pics of the whole house!)

And I love Rudy - she reminds me of my dog :)

Natalie Mikolajczak said...

We decided not to even put up our mini pre-lit Christmas tree because it was too much work.

Can you say "lazy ass"?

Sadia said...

I'm all about the fake tree. I wish I could blame it Lucas being away so many Christmases, but I can't be bothered with the real kind even when he's home.

I've been thinking about getting an ornament per child per year and putting them aside for them. If I start this year, they'll have 14 each by the time they graduate high school.

erinlaughs said...

I used to be vehemently against fake trees until I had to bring home and put up a real tree all by myself. Word on the swearing! Now I have a very nice, pre-lit fake tree as well. My only beef? I cannot find a star that will actually stay on the tree! What did you do to yours to get it to stay there??

Nicola Jayne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Midwest Mommy said...

I love that every ornament has a meaning. Love it!

Julie said...

This is our first year with the fake tree. While I miss the smell of the real one, I do not miss the ouch of the needles as I hang ornaments, the fact that we never remember to water it, struggling and cursing as I untangle all those lights and the ginormous mess as I haul the thing out the front door on Dec 26th b/c it is seriously a dried out stick by then.

Plus, I am married to the Grinch, so Christmas fun is kind of MY thing only. I am loving my pre-lit tree!

reanbean said...

What a gorgeous tree! I think artificial trees have come a long way since we were kids. They look much more real than they used to, and pre-lit is such a great feature. We were gifted an artificial tree years ago when we were still dating, but we were so into having the real tree that it went unused for years. But we've used it every year since the kiddos came along, and I'm wondering if we'll ever go back. At first, I missed the fresh pine scent, but a wreath on the door took care of that.

I love your ornament tradition with Jon. We also have special ornaments, and get one for each kid every Christmas, but have never chosen ones for each other. Perhaps we'll add that to our traditions next year.

Happy Holidays!