I hate you Christmas tree.

It's up and it didn't kill me

Well, to be fair, I like it when it’s all lit up. I like sitting in the front room with a cup of hot cocoa while N. plays his Christmas music on the piano, and we all bask in its Saturday Evening Post glow.

But I hate putting it up. Actually, this year was better than the last decade of Christmases. We got a new tree on a post-Thanksgiving online sale (which, I have words and feelings about, such as – I think many retailers just mark stuff up so you think you’re getting a deal, when you really aren’t. Like, this tree was supposedly a frillion dollars, ours for a mere fraction of the MSRP. Whatevers. It’s nicer than our old one, but it’s definitely not a frillion-dollar-tree.)

Anyway. Our old tree featured a defunct built in lighting system and these weird paper-like fake needles that shed worse than my dogs in the spring. The complicated plugs and mad nest of wires made it so difficult to set up, and my husband would whimper and rock in the corner (figuratively, in case that wasn’t clear) when it came time to haul it out of storage and start wrestling with it. So this one is not pre-lit (don’t they all burn out anyway?) so it went together much more easily.



I know. All artificial trees require fluffing so they don’t look emaciated. But UGH. The Grinch and I are BFFs at the moment, but seriously, I had just finished working a really long day trying to catch up after a massive power outage kinda wrecked my schedule, and there were various little Boy Scouts ghosting around with stacks of merit badge paperwork wanting me to focus and sign things, and I was all hairied and up to my shoulders in itchy fake pine needles, trying to FLUFF, FLUFF, FLUFF properly, and I kinda snapped.

The atmospheric Christmas channel on Pandora was blaring an aggressively synthesized Mannheim Steamroller song at the time, so that contributed, I’m sure.


I am actually sore today. Like I went and did Cross Fit or something. Decorating a Christmas tree better have burned off some calories, is all I’m saying.

So. It’s up, and we can all be freaking merry and bright now. Oh wait, except I still need to hang the outside lights and the stockings. AUGH.


  1. Lora says

    Misery loves company. I’m glad we’re not the only family for whom setting up the Christmas tree is an ordeal. Thanks for the cute illustration. Is that from a program that is available to people with only a laptop, no smart phone?

    Also, I totally agree with your theory about elevated MSRPs.

    • says

      I sketched it in like ten seconds in Adobe Illustrator on my desktop with my pen tablet. I put the texture and background in on Photoshop.

      Try Sketchbook Pro. It’s available for computers (a watered down version is available for tablets, but as I don’t have one, I haven’t tried it). I like the desktop version a lot. It might be more fun with a little wacom pen tablet, though I think you can use it fine with a mouse. My kids like it, too!

  2. says

    Right??? RIGHT????

    Oh my gosh, I hate the Christmas setup and the tree fluffing so very very very much. The lights on our tree died years ago, but we’re way too cheap to buy a new one. We cut all of the plugs off of it, and just string up LED lights now. I tell myself that you can’t tell because we have a frillion ornaments.

    My youngest’s birthday is on the fifth, so we wait to set ours up until after that. Which means this weekend.

    I wish I was a drinker.

    • says

      That’s what we did for years, stuck lights in around the dead pre-wired bulbs. We cut the snot out of the wires, but the STOOPID thing would not stand properly unless the plugs were plugged in all up along the center pole. I cannot even tell you how many bad words would go through our heads.

      It’s still out in the shop and the kids are begging to set it up downstairs as a kid tree. I think my husband had to go lie down at the suggestion.

      We have a Dec. birthday too!! And I think it kind of bites – it’s hard to not let it get lost in the hustle and bustle of the season. We hung up crepe paper streamers amidst all the mistletoe and garlanding and he doesn’t seem to mind.

    • says

      Ha ha ha! PERFECT! I think I’ll let the kids jimmy-rig some lights in the windows and call it good.

  3. Emerald says

    I am T-23hrs from putting up our tree. This is the first year we’re are putting up lights outside after a loving yet heated undertone discussion with my hubby in Target over how many strands to get (you know t h o s e discussions?) Should be interesting since I usually do all the decorating while he is at work and our kiddo is at school. I know that I’ll be a happy girl once the work is done. Fa La La and all that good stuff. btw – love your copyright tagline, still chuckling about it :)

    • says

      Gosh yes, how many? I have NO idea. I actually reached out to someone on Craigslist for a quote. Just to see how many pennies it would take to get someone to come hang lights for me. He wanted to know how many feet my roofline was so I had to take a nap. HOW THE HECK DO I KNOW?

      That’s what my mom says, suffer thorough it and then sip your hot chocolate and enjoy the glow. At least until the New Year. Ha.

      Heh. I started typing the copyright and I was like, as if. So I left it. *grin*

      • Michelle says

        This year, my pastor suggested (demanded?) that each person remove 3 things from our holiday to-do list (as a way to make this time less hectic) and one of the things I removed from my list was putting up outside lights. When I made that decision, I felt like the world had been lifted from my shoulders.

        Also‚Ķabout a month ago I went temporarily insane and attacked all my shrubs with the pruner. So there’s nothing to hang lights on, anyway.

        • says

          What a great suggestion! I think I’m going to remove neighbor gifts from my to-do list. I will have a huge wedge of guilt over it, but I’ve skipped them before and it’s no big deal, but it feels like one at the time.

          I’ll see if I can hang up one sad strand of outdoor lights just over the porch (no crazy roof peaks) and call it good.

          • Michelle says

            He also said we weren’t allowed to feel guilt over whatever we eliminated, so you can follow that advice, too. :)

            I used to give a little something to my neighbors, but (and this sounds petty) they never reciprocated, so I stopped. That makes me sound awful, but it kind of hurt my feelings.

  4. says

    Hmm. That ad at the bottom of this post on the homepage is new. I don’t remember setting that up… I will investigate.

  5. says

    Our artificial tree has this “cute” little glittery stuff on some of the branches, to make me feel all wintery and snow-nostalgic. But it gets glitter EVERYWHERE… even 8 years after we bought it. And when I find glitter on my baby’s bum inside her diaper after we put it up it really drives me nuts. However, this year when we set it up the built-in lights on the bottom tier didn’t work… so my first thought was “EUREKA! We can get rid of it and buy a non-glittery one in the after-Christmas sales!”

    That has nothing to do with the fluffing… just a little bit of a brain dump re: artificial trees that just happened when I saw your post! Sorry!

    • says

      Hey, I love comment hijacks, and that wasn’t even really one since it was on topic and everything. Have you seen these? Flip Trees. Apparently they need no fluffing and of course sport no annoying diaper glitter either. I’m pretty much in love, I just have to like, sell a car or something to afford one. But I’m pretty sure they are the end of all my Christmas woes.

      • says

        Oh my gosh. It really couldn’t be that easy, could it?? I still would rather string my own lights though. They WILL burn out.

        • says

          Yes, exactly. I wonder if they make one without lights because that would be my dream tree.

  6. Michelle says

    My tree cost $7 at Walmart. I bought it in, like, February 3 years ago. It is totally fug, but I let my boys decorate it by themselves, and by the time 90 yards of garland and every. single. ornament is on it, it looks OK. I stopped caring when they started caring, KWIM? (Not that I don’t care, but I stopped feeling like it had to look like a picture in a magazine.)

    We drove to family on Thanksgiving (7 hours alone in a car with a 9 year old. Hug me.) and I decided that I was going to buy one of those portable DVD players because ONCE AGAIN, the iPad refused to download the movies I purchased (7 hours alone in a car with a 9 year old with no videos or video games or technology. Hug me tighter.) I put one in my cart on Amazon, and it was $59.99. I let it sit there for a couple of days because I wanted to time the delivery for a day when the boy was out of the house. When I went to pay for it (this was last Sunday), I had a notice that the price had increased to $68.99. I didn’t buy it because I was annoyed. BUT! Cyber Monday, what do you suppose was one of the “lightening deals”? The very same DVD player for – you guessed it! $59.99. I was crazy mad.

    • says

      Seven dollars? That is amazing. I’d probably put up with a lot of stupid fluffing and dumb wires for seven dollars!

      I agree. I do the ribbon and help with the lights, but the kids do the rest. I did kinda need to help B. not hang every thing down low for the kitties to get at, though. J’s pretty particular, and it ends up looking pretty nice.

      Oh I am sending huge hugs. Seven hours (to match your seven dollars!) AUGH, though, right? I KNEW they just amped up the stupid prices. GRRR. I was hunting for a watch for E. on Amazon and the one I was looking at had retail marked up to $800. Yeah right. So I googled, and sure enough the MOST that watch sold for elsewhere was around $100. Amazon’s AMAZING sale price was all of $79. Still a sale, but not THAT BIG OF A SALE. Ugh.

      • Michelle says

        To be completely honest, it looks like a $7 tree. But I’d never had a pre-lit tree before, and for $7 I figured that if I hated it, I wouldn’t feel bad about sending it to the thrift store.

  7. says

    I LOOOOVE the candy stripe ribbon around the tree. I could just eat it.

    • says

      Oh thanks! I hastily grabbed ribbon at this variety store and it wasn’t what I thought it would be like. It’s kinda plasticy? So I don’t know if it’ll keep for next year, but I like the candy cane-ness too :o)

  8. AmyDawn says

    Smart move to get one that was NOT pre-lit. Ours was & last year they burned out and I spent HOURS cutting wires and unwrapping lights and hanging new ones on. Today was tree decorating day for me. Plus, B finally gave up on our Christmas village up on the high decorator shelf, so I got the joy of hyperventilating on a very high ladder while wrestling with cords and ruining my hips with the climbing. But, it looks lovely now. I do have a small tree downstairs that the kids decorate and they love it. It’s nice that it’s small because they can reach everywhere.

    Also, my heart is all warm and fuzzy seeing those snowflakes on the tree! It looks beautiful!

    • says

      It’s such a good idea, but yeah, they all burn out and it’s so dumb. We tried to hack ours out, but that stupid tree needed the wire structure thing to be put together and stay standing. It’s like the worst possible way to design a tree.

      December needs to last twice as long as other months so we can enjoy the hard work of decorating longer. Or… I just need to embrace my scroogeness and hang up a metal pole so we can start celebrating Festivus instead. But then I wouldn’t get to hang up your beautiful snowflakes! It makes the tree, Aimes, I love them.

  9. says

    When we realized Meredith would never breathe through the entire month of December if we had a LIVE Christmas tree, we purchased a plastic one. I believe that was in 2002. This is likely the last year it will work. It came pre-lit. Each year I had to figure out what bulb was broken until it became too much of a nuisance. Three years ago, with wire cutters in hand, Jeff and I spent FOUR HOURS clipping all the lights off the middle three sets of limbs. The next year the bottom three sets of limbs stopped working completely, and we took to the task again. Finally, last year the topper lights stopped. Once again we clipped. Now we have a 11 year old tree “pre-lit” tree without lights. It is unwoven in some places, seriously askew in others, but I can’t bring myself to fork over the money for another one until it crumbles into our laps.

    Which will be this year as soon as we string the lights on it.
    Because that is how it works folks.

    In other news, I’m proud that the box is in the living room and we may actually have it up this week!

    • says

      Oh gosh yes. We clipped and clipped and then realized whoever designed our dumb tree made the wires integral to the structure of the tree itself. It could not stand without its wire skeleton. Holy cow. So we cut out some but there were many branches still wired and we just strung live lights on top of them. Dead bulbs and all. The kids would to set it up downstairs but it is such a horrendous pain. I can’t even seem to give it away on Craigslist or Freecycle!

      Didn’t you leave your tree up for a long time last year? They are so pretty once they’re up. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just tent them and wheel them all set up into some closet or something?

      • says

        Last year I took my tree down in a timely manner because we got it up the weekend following Thanksgiving and was in the mood to have an uncluttered living space again.

        The year before? *ahem* It was up until mid-January. I kid you not. I wasn’t even making a statement about it–I was just NOT IN THE MOOD.

        I have the lights half on my tree right now. Somehow I managed to purchase one strand of twinkling ones. I did not know this until I finished two rows below it, and I was NOT going back to rewrap anything.

        So, Em is, at this very moment, headed back up to Target to buy more twinkle lights to offset my mistake.

        My tree needed major surgery to keep two branches upright because they are completely broken off now. I’m not sure we’ll be able to hang ornaments on them. Maybe we’ll shove a monster or teddy bear in there to prop up the limb.

        Poor, pathetic Christmas tree.

        • says

          That’s what I’m remembering! Usually by like, the day after Christmas I’m ready to tear it all down. Though my outside lights did stay up well into spring last year. They would come on wearily until they finally burned out in April and I got around to yanking them down.

          I stood there with our white-corded lights for a whole minute thinking, “Maybe it will be fine” ha ha ha.

          Monsters and teddy bears can be very festive!

  10. Kathy V says

    WHY is this such a dreaded task for us parents?! I LOVE the Christmas season and the warm glow of the Christmas tree and all the decorations but EVERY year my daughter has to beg me to put it up. I finally pulled it out last Friday and once I got started there was no stopping me. I’m glad I saw this thread, though, because I have been saying I want a prelit tree so I don’t have to deal with the lights. Now I know better. Hmmm…maybe after Christmas I’ll just make a huge space in my garage and store it with a bag over it, lights and all. Problem solved…..if I had a huge open space in my garage! lol

    • says

      Oh HA! I hadn’t read your comment yet and typed that dream solution up above! YES, wouldn’t it be nice? Tent the thing and just wheel it somewhere all set up? That would be so great!

      Did you see the flip tree links up above? I want one so bad. Just flip it and you’re done. What a brilliant idea, but they are so expensive.


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