My Griswold-like Christmases started early in my life with one year my dad nailing two trees together to make the Charlie Brown Tree we had look fuller, another was when they had the top of the tree tied with string which was attached to a hook to the ceiling above the tree because it kept falling over. But I have to say I always have the best memories of when I was a kid and decorating the tree and great Christmases. One would have hoped that over the years that Christmases would have become less Griswoldish, but the trend continues, albeit not every year. Here are a few of my memorable adult Christmas tales.
When Motorcycle Man and I got married we were excited about our first "married" Christmas. This was when we could start our own traditions and we looked forward to it. Keep in mind we lived up north and it was really cold at Christmas, so Christmas trees when you got them were pretty frozen. A few days before Christmas we went off to trudge through the bush to find a tree, but the snow was too deep and we decided to go to a commercial tree lot instead. Off we go to the tree lot and we are browsing through the trees looking for the perfect tree. This is kind of hard when they have the trees tied up with cording around them, you really can't see the tree fluff factor or if you are picking a Charlie Brown tree. After much browsing and complaints of it being cold, standing out there (it was -25) we finally picked a tree. Off we go to home with the tree tied to the top of my Chevy Sprint, that was a sight to behold the tree was almost longer than the car.
We had to saw off at least 2 feet because it was too tall and then popped that baby in the stand. We had to let the tree thaw out because it was frozen. Motorcycle man was checking it for rodents because you just never know if there is a rogue critter hanging out in a warm Christmas tree. A few hours and a few rum and egg nogs later we started stringing lights. Motorcycle Man and I have extremely different approaches to light stringing. He is a minimalist, whereas I am a blinger - the more lights the better. He is organized in his approach and I am lets get these babies on the tree. He also does not like blinker bulbs, much to my chagrin, I just wanted to put it in for a little bit. I also tend to go back and thread lights through bald spots were there isn't quite enough and in the end it is like taking apart a light strand puzzle (knots). We happily got our lovely tree decorated and had a few too many egg nogs, but the tree was perfection.
Fast forward a couple of days to Christmas day, we were having family over for dinner and cooked the perfect turkey, had all the yummy food and then of course everyone was in the turkey coma after dinner. Soon it was time for everyone to leave. After we had cleaned up and were snuggling on the couch looking at the tree I saw some flickering reflections. I commented on how pretty the reflections were and then they started to increase (no it was not my mind hallucinating or too much egg nog). I got up and decided this needed some further investigation, on closer inspection to my horror our tree was crawling with SPIDERS - YUP the only thing to do at this point was to scream, flap my arms and do a little dance of "OH MY GOD KIRK THERE ARE SPIDERS ALL OVER THE TREE!!!!" He thought I was kidding, but I wasn't. The tree was seriously infested and even a can of Raid was not going to do the job and we probably would have suffocated from the noxious fume cloud from the volume of Raid we would have had to have used to kill them all. I guess the spiders hatched out because the house was warm and dry. I am shivering just thinking about this.
Our beautiful tree that we had taken hours to decorate was de-decorated within 20 minutes flat. Ornaments and lights were heaped all over the floor and the tree was unceremoniously chucked out the front door into the -40 night and 10 feet of snow - TAKE THAT SPIDERS!!! That was our first married Christmas.
There have been a few Martha-esque Christmases in there, but for the most part the Griswold-esque Christmases seem to outnumber the Martha's.
In 1996 there was a blizzard and we were living on the floathome in Victoria and spent most of the holidays shovelling snow off our house so we wouldn't sink. Friends had come for dinner on boxing day and ended up being stranded at our house for 3 days because the city shut down due to the volume of snow. Thank goodness I had cooked turkey and had plenty of stuff in my freezer. I truly believe there are more Griswold-like families than there are Martha-like families.
So come on and tell me about your holidays, are you are Martha or a Griswold?