Sunday, December 15, 2013

We Have a Christmas Tree...

... and Toffee has a mission. He is wondering how to begin to rearrange
all the ornaments, since he feels we decorated it all wrong.

Decorating this tree took forever, and we only used about half of my ornaments. We finally finished it an hour ago, after waiting a decent interval to see if anyone wanted to climb it. Harris or Toffee may still decide to try it but, so far, they just want to eat it.

We realized the tree was leaning toward the fireplace after we tied it to the window frame and put on all the lights. A listing tree is unacceptable; you can't spend the holidays leaning sideways so your tree looks straight. Straightening it was an adventure — we discovered that hard way that this tree is so heavy that I can't hold it upright by myself.

I wasn't planning to use any glass ornaments, given how destructive Toffee is. But as my husband says, "You can take the girl out of Bethlehem but you can't take the Bethlehem out of the girl." I grew up in the Christmas City of the USA, so my tree has to be fresh, tall, aromatic, and overdecorated, with both white and colored lights and ornaments I've collected since I was a teenager. When I saw how skimpy the tree looked with only unbreakables, I gave up on the minimalist approach and started loading it with glass ornaments, placed out of what we hope is out of cat reach. There are probably 10 dozen glass ornaments on it now, and let's hope they stay where they belong. I still wouldn't call it overdecorated, this tree is my interpretation of restraint.

(In college, I took an anthropology class that opened my eyes to the weird rituals of my ordinary Irish-Italian Catholic community. Even now, as we put up the tree, I'm struck by how bizarre this tradition is: millions of us dragging a huge, needle-shedding piece of forest into the house so we can cover it with lights and bling. We may think the ancient Egyptians, the Maya, and every other culture had their wacky rituals, but we can compete and we may even take the cake. But I digress.)

Harris is also destructive, but he prefers to knock things off surfaces, like mantels. I have lots of green boughs we cut from the bottom of the tree, which I plan to use to decorate both mantels. I usually add lights and my collections of little wax Christmas trees, glittery pinecones, etc, and they always looked great. (I used to add lots of tiny glass balls — definitely not this year.) But I still can't get up my nerve to decorate them. Harris could easily jump up and sweep everything onto the floor in seconds.

"What about using Quake Hold Museum Putty?" you ask. That stuff doesn't work. Harris had a vendetta with one of our cordless phones, knocking it to the floor a dozen times a day. I broken down and tried some Quake Hold, which the package says is, "The Collector's Choice for securing valuable treasures from earthquakes, kids and other shakers in your home." I'd bought some after Toffee knocked a huge apothecary jar full of seashells off a bookcase at 3 am. But I was afraid to use it since I didn't know what it would do to my bookcases and mantels. Would things be stuck to them forever? But I got so fed up with rescuing that phone that I used some Quake Hold to stick its base to the window sill and then I used another blob to stick the phone to its cradle, since we rarely use it. I followed the directions and let it set overnight. The next morning: Slam. Everything on the floor again.

So without Quake Hold to rely on, I'll have to use my last weapon to keep Harris and Toffee from destroying Christmas: lecturing them in the voice of Professor Minerva McGonagall from Harry Potter.

Wish me luck.


  1. That is a great picture!

  2. Your tree it beautiful. There's nothing worst than an underdecorated tree (well, there is, but you know what I mean). Go Big or go home. I hope you all survive the season, sans emergency trips to the vet.


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