If I had had a blog last December, a good portion of it would have been devoted to my absolute hatred for my Christmas tree. It was a wreck. It depressed me. It had three broken branches, it tilted to the side and most egregiously, the prelit feature no longer worked. Last year I had to actually wrap my prelit tree with all new lights. Which meant I had a total of 2000 lights on my tree (half of which actually lit up) and people, with two thousand lights, do ya think there is any room for any other decorations? We won’t even get into what it was like to untangle that mess in January.
The hatred for the tree would bubble up all last Christmas season. My eyes darted to the broken branch at the bottom as I walked past it. I would try to read a book next to the fireplace, but give up as my annoyance at the ugly thing in the room with me was overwhelming. I swore I would not use that tree again.
The offending tree was a $200 purchase from K-Mart about 5 years ago. It was actually a great deal – it was a beautiful tree, full and lush with the holy grail of lighting – a full 1,000 twinklers on a 7.5′ tree. It looked great. For two years. By the third year branches were breaking, and lights started going out. You know where we ended up.
When the Christmas circulars started coming out, I poured over them. I visited stores. I knew what I wanted. Problem was, what I wanted was $500. I v-e-r-y slowly started to develop a plan. It was intricate. It involved stumbling across a $500 tree for less than $200.
This was how I found myself outside a J.C . Penny at 3:45 a.m. on Black Friday. Let me just say that I have never done this before and I never will again. My sleep is far more valuable to me than the money I might save on some gizmo. But, that was after this experience, so lets return to the past, when I hadn’t learned such a valuable lesson yet. When the doors opened at 4:00 a.m., I frantically (I’m totally serious here) asked a uniformed guy where the $108 Christmas Tree was. Third floor. I sprint up there. I find it. Pant, pant, pant. I circle it. I stop and stare.
It is ugly.
Straggly and fake looking in the way only a $108 tree can be. But you know what? I got my butt out of bed at 3:30 to buy this thing and I wasn’t leaving with out it. So I bought it. Then I figured, heck, I’m already up, and I’m at the mall without three kids (a rarity) – maybe I’ll just head down to the jewelry department and see if they have any gold hoops on sale. They did! Imagine that!
I now have two tree boxes in my garage. The ugly one will be returned this weekend. The empty box is the result of me accepting that there are no deals on Christmas trees in December and the subsequent purchase of a slightly discounted floor-model tree from a reputable store for $285, complete with a 10-year warranty. Sometimes, you get what you pay for.