More often than not lately, we haven't put up a Christmas tree. This is not some grand environmental statement (Christmas trees are, after all, a perfectly fine agricultural product and you can even buy organic ones in some places)–it's more a lack of time and organization and motivation. And some years, one of us is motivated but the other is not–and transporting and installing a Christmas tree is a two-person job.
But then, at some point terribly late in the season, like five days before Christmas, I start feeling bad about the lack of holiday cheer around my house, and I find myself wishing I'd done something. I run out in search of a wreath, a poinsettia, some garland, anything. It occurred to me this weekend, as I was driving past the empty tree lots in search of any kind of holiday something-or-other, that maybe I should come up with some sort of non-tree that we could decorate every year. Not an artificial tree, because I hate those. But something vaguely plant-ish that would be fun to decorate and could be an easy one-person job in case only one of us had the time or interest to get it done.
I found the perfect thing online–too late this year, but I'm seriously considering it for next year. It's called the possibiliTree, and it's made right here in the USA.
Cool, huh? But it was too late for that this year, so I headed off to the crafts store in search of whatever sort of thing I could stitch together with pipe cleaners and glue guns and glitter. Honestly, I had no idea what I was looking for. I did know that I was channeling my great-grandmother, a woman who actually married into the family after my grandmother's mother died, but who somehow managed to implant her DNA in us regardless. She was the person the whole family revolved around, the one who kept tabs on all of us and kept us together and seemed to understand us all.
You would expect the matriarch of the family to be the keeper of traditions, but she was weirdly un-traditional when it came to holidays, always showing up with barbecue when a turkey was expected, piecing together decorations out of shoe boxes and gold spray paint and pine cones in a way that was very pre-Martha Stewart and like nothing that ever came out of a kit or a magazine.
Anyway. Let's skip ahead. I wandered the crafts store in a daze, picking up the 70% off holiday decor items, wandering down the non-holiday aisles, and–well, here's what I came up with.
Branches! Lights! Big vase! It actually looks better in real life than it does in this photo. Makes quite a statement in the room. I limited the ornaments to birds, plants, and bugs. (yes, I have a lot of bug ornaments.)
Then, in the dining room, I took these kind of cheesy 70% off holiday decor items–little white wire trees strung with clear plastic beads and lights–and stuck them in flower pots crammed with florist foam. Sort of garden-y, but not. And I did manage to scatter some wreaths and garland around the house, so it at least smells like a tree.
It's really quite lovely, especially considering that it only took a couple of hours to throw together. And I think my great-grandmother would approve.
What are you people doing? Real trees? Fake trees? Non-trees? No trees?