Kemi, like “chemistry”

Random Musings of the Misunderstood

I cry the day that I take the tree down January 5, 2008

Filed under: Christmas,Kemi — Kemi @ 2:08 pm
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Kemi’s Tree

I took our tree down today.  What took me hours to put up (that includes the three times Anthony tipped it over and it had to be re-strung with lights and re-decorated) only took about 20 minutes to dismantle and pack away in the garage.

It always makes me a little sad to put away our little Charlie Brown tree.  We got it 13 years ago, the first Christmas we were married.  I already owned a tiny tabletop tree and a few ornaments and battery-operated lights, and we figured that would be the thrifty, albeit pathetic, choice for our first apartment.  My parents figured differently, however, and they took us shopping the day after Thanksgiving to pick out a little artificial tree for our living room, plus trimmings and a few other goodies.  We were so excited!  It was a darling tree, perfect for two newlyweds in a small apartment.

A few Christmases later, we had a new addition to the family- a cat, who thought our tiny tree was perfect to hide in.  She bent several branches over the next few years, until she outgrew either the tree or her need to climb it.   No amount of force could ever return the metal branches to their former state, so I used the lights as a weak support system, wrapping the strand around the ends of the branches and pulling them into a better position.

 The tree moved with us to two new places:  a small duplex more suitable for children, and then to our new home.  The only year it didn’t make an appearance was in 2001, when I had an emergency gall bladder surgery on December 11.  I was ready to do without a tree that year, but my mom and dad rescued us (again!) with a small tree and kid-themed ornaments that they hung for me.  They convinced me that our two kids, then 2 1/2 and 18 months, needed a tree, and of course they were right.  When we bought our new home, it had two living rooms upstairs, so we had plenty of room to display a full-sized tree, but I had grown attached to this one.  We put it on the coffee table and displayed it proudly in the front window.  From the street our little tree looked strong and sturdy.  In our living room, guests commented with delight on our cute little (deceptive) tree.

 Sadly, I think our little tree has seen its last Christmas.  After being stored in a Rubbermaid container 11 months of the year, being abused by an indifferent feline and tipping over three times this holiday season, I noticed that its trunk is badly bent and misshapen.  Once the lights were removed, the lower branches pointed down instead of out.  My husband prefers a more full look, we have enough ornaments in storage to cover three 8-foot trees, and quite honestly, a pre-lit tree is very appealing.  (Plus, it will be very difficult for Anthony to tip over a full-sized tree.  Note I didn’t say “impossible”…)

Today I couldn’t make the decision to throw the tree away.  I packed it carefully in its green crate, then gave it an extra pat and a whispered “Thank you” for its quiet, loyal service to our family.  Who knows?  Maybe it will serve us next year too.


18 Responses to “I cry the day that I take the tree down”

  1. Katrina Says:

    I loved this post! What a great story about how it came into your life and witnessed all those changes in your family. That’s why I can’t understand all those “real tree only” people–I get just as misty-eyed thinking of our wonderful artificial tree that we bought our first married Christmas for $17 at Walmart. We have all these little traditions built around putting it up. 🙂

  2. Mercedes Says:

    WOW! Your tree looks like mine~small on a coffee table! Too Cool! I love your story! Maybe it will make it one more year!


  3. HH Says:

    Hey Kemi, your tree reminds me of mine. We bought our in 1991 when we moved to Victoria. It is getting a little scruffy now and I said to the dh as we were setting it up that I thought it was the trees last year with us. Well in looking at it again, I think I will try and keep it another year. Its a little worse for wear, but it is mine and has many christmas memories for me. When my dd turned 2 1/2 we started making a paper chain for the tree, well she is 10 now and we still have the paper chain and I gently put it away every year so we can adorn the tree with it. My tree is hardly a Martha Stewart tree, none of the ornaments match they are a hodge podge of what I had when I was growing up and every year I buy a family ornament and one for my dd and it adds to the story of the tree. I like trees that have character and aren’t sterile designer looking trees. So go ahead shed a little tear, I do too!

  4. Accountable Says:

    I was a little sad taking down our tree too. I usually take it down on the Feast of the Epiphany, but we didn’t make it. Baby girl kept taking the ornaments off so they came off a week early. Then the tree came down on Saturday.

  5. My daughter helped me take ours down today. It was fun, but she needed reassurance that we would enjoy the tradition again next year. I was surprised that it fit back into that skinny cardboard box.

    Thanks for sharing your story, Kemi. We are still in the small apartment with small children phase of our lives. 😆

  6. HH Says:

    My tree is still up. I leave it up to the Epiphany as well. But due to circumstances this year it is still up and I am going to get to it this weekend. I just seemed to need a little cheer still and the tinsel, lights and the story the tree tells makes me feel better.

  7. daisygirl19 Says:

    I wouldn’t have taken mine down yet, either, except my husband walked into the living room on January 2 and said, “How long are you going to leave this up? When can we take it down?”

    Of course he had a right to be wary … the year I had Anthony (and an emergency c-section) on December 19, it came down on March 1. No kidding.

  8. pppj Says:

    Hey, I just found this! It is so cool!

  9. HH Says:

    I think if you want to leave it up, then leave it up. One year they did a story on our unusual home, which most of you know was a floathome in the harbor. The producers came and interviewed us in December for the tv segment and loved how charming the floathome looked all decked out for Christmas and they asked us to leave it up. We did, the segment taping was at the end of January so we enjoyed Christmas for another month! The only bummer was you couldn’t get egg nog anymore.

  10. pinkbeefs Says:

    It is a sweet little tree, Kemi. I hope it serves you well for years to come, even though it is looking a little worse for the wear. That was a touching story.

  11. cowgalutah Says:

    shhh…don’t tell a soul. I still have my tree up!
    last year I even had it up for our super bowl party . The old man said that we will have to take it down this weekend…

  12. daisygirl19 Says:

    hee hee hee, Cowgal– I know. My tree once stayed up until March 1, remember. Truthfully, now that I think about it, it may have even been April 1…

    Throw a couple of football ornaments on it. Make it a seasonal thing. *wink*

  13. pinkbeefs Says:

    Didn’t you just tell him, daisygirl, that it was up so long because it reminds you of how good he makes you feel as your year-round Santa Claus?! (Guys eat that stuff up. The cornier the better. lol
    Use your Mary Kay booking face with the smiling nod, and they’ll come close to believing you. Well, at least you’d make him smile. 🙂 )

  14. More like hyperventilate in a ferocious fit of laughter…

    I tried to play the baby card, as in, “I had an emergency c-section with our FOURTH child the week before Christmas and a tree that stands immobile and quiet in the corner is the LAST thing I’m going to tangle with, thank you very much!” with no success or sympathy. I even got to the point where I said, “Take it down yourself if it bothers you so much.” No dice.

    Seriously, if it weren’t for the kids, I would be okay with no tree. Or ornaments on a house plant. *snort*

  15. pinkbeefs Says:

    Well, I’ll just ‘fess up then, daisy. I have a stand-by fake fig tree replete with green Christmas lights in the basement. It is a permanent fixture. We did use that one year and let the Christmas pretties stay boxed up! lol

    My grandma and grandpa had moved into an apartment on the 12th floor in the downtown area. They used to have a 24″ silver foldable tree. It was kind of goofy, but cute. I came to visit during the Christmas season and asked Grandpa, “Where is the tree?” Grandpa, “Downstairs in the storage closet.” (This from people who never had a dustball in their house and even string was neatly wound and had its own spot in the not-very-junky junk drawer.) Me, “Well, why not put it up?” Grandpa, “Nah. Too much trouble.” I almost coughed up a lung laughing. He didn’t even want to deal with that when all it meant was an elevator ride, 30 feet of walking, unlocking a door, and pulling the little tree out to bring upstairs. Deep down, we’re all alike, daisy!

    Go ahead and make hubby’s day by making him hyperventilate in a ferocious fit of laughter . . . 🙂

  16. highhopes1 Says:

    ROF – Cowgalutah – I’m gonna fess up here big time.

    Its February 6 and my tree is still up and now we are thinking of putting Valentine’s hearts on it. I just keep running out of time on the weekends to take it down or something happens.

    I love my little tree and the lights. If I get it down soon fine, if not, no biggie. At least it is a conversation piece thats for sure!

    Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas (still)…….

  17. […] tree last year, she was missing.  Still can’t figure out where she went.  We made do with a Santa hat (and I had Santa-hat garland, so there was a theme), and Kenny HATED it.  Unless the angel makes […]

  18. […] #5– It is not nearly as fun to take the Christmas tree down as it is to put it […]

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