Erica: "I thought the ornaments might, you know, match."
Me: "Why would they?"
My Christmas tree philosophy hasn't changed much since I was about five. If it's colorful or shiny, stick it on somewhere. That means that the purple snowmen and the Patrick Swayze "Dirty Dancing" ornament go right next to each other. Haphazard is the first word that comes to mind.
Personally, I think it's a fitting style for my tree, which has plenty of character regardless of what kind of ornaments I put on it. I inherited the tree from my friend Lisa's grandma, "Mawmaw," and I love everything about it. That's also pretty fitting considering the fact that Lisa called me the other day to tell me that Mawmaw wanted to make sure I knew it was her "love" tree. The ragged, old Charlie Brown Christmas tree started out life as a wedding present for Lisa's parents. When they moved on to greener, pre-lit pastures, they gave the tree back to Mawmaw. Now Mawmaw is the proud owner of her own fancy new tree, so the love tree has moved on to its third home, a cluttered living room on Lexington Avenue.
Once I discovered that I owned a Christmas tree with a name, I knew that it couldn't have conventional decorations. I mean, how many Christmas trees get used for 30 years and have a nickname? None that I've ever owned before.
So just when Erica was coming around to my way of thinking, and by coming around, I mean surrendering to the fact that I would not budge from my stance and neither of us can really afford to buy all new decorations, the cat decided to take matters into his own hands. We knew when the tree was up that Fur Baby was probably going to misbehave.
I did not, however, anticipate the loud thud, followed by an even louder meow. I walked downstairs to find my poor, beloved tree toppled over in the floor, devoid of every single ornament. Lights, branches and ornaments were strewn all over the place and there was the cat, just sitting there, surveying his handiwork, which left me with no choice but to try and repair the damage. It actually wasn't too hard, given the aforementioned haphazard decorating approach. Of course, there is the random branch stuffed in the closet because I never could figure out where it was supposed to go.
I'm not sure what kind of life my tree had before I took possession, but I'm guessing that it was a little more conventional. No crazy cats, no arguing roommates and more time spent in the closet than actually on display. But at least Mawmaw's tree is still a part of someone's Christmas. Maybe it would have preferred a different owner, but I suppose better me than no one at all.
Now the only question is how many Christmases the little tree will be around for. I'd like to think it has several, if I can keep Fur Baby away, that is.
Contact Rachel Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org