Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Grit's guide to Christmas for mean parents (3): The tree

You're spending this weekend putting up the Christmas tree.

Admit it. You're grappling with a three-metre length of timber that maliciously stabs you in the face, draws the life blood from your arms, and wees resin all over the floorboards.

After three hours someone will have the good idea that the bloody thing will surely stay upright if you nail it directly to the floor through a plastic bucket filled with Polyfilla.

Believe me, I have been there. Like the moment someone* said the best way to put up a second-hand chandelier on a high Victorian ceiling is to balance it on a cake tin nailed to the end of a three metre length of wood. Then run up a ladder holding the wood, cake tin, and balanced chandelier, and latch it onto the hook in the ceiling before you crash two metres to the floor.

The nurse doing the bandaging said it was a crap idea as well.

So you can see why Grit has developed other ideas.

The first option, because you have children and you like to go ahhh at the idea of Tinkertop kneeling beneath the tree on Christmas Eve with her hands tightly clasped and her eyes shining - and not beating her sister round the head with the branches like the kids do in Grit's house - well the first step to minimise expenditure is buy a pre-loved (i.e. discarded) plastic tree from the RSPCA shop.

Bargain the old lady down to under a fiver. They may be a charity, but this is Christmas. Times are tough.

Anyway, you can hate the sight of it, because you won't have to look at it. Shove the revolting plastic tree at Tinkertop. She will be beside herself with joy. She will grow in stature and dignity knowing you trust her to decorate the family tree. Tell her she can put it in her bedroom (or somewhere else you never go unless you are forced) and say nothing while she decorates it with sweet wrappers and old socks. She will be in seventh heaven and you can call it education, just like we do.

Option 2, and this is preferred,* is to decorate a tree outside.

There will be a local tree somewhere just asking to have bits of ribbon and a bauble tied round it. Then everyone in your neighbourhood can share your joy for free.

When the local council come to take down your charming decorations due to unlicensed use of street tree, you could have a go at a local bush.

Failing that, a pot plant.

You will have one somewhere. It will have a label in it telling you what it was before it became a clump of dead twigs sticking out a plastic pot. The label lacks only the dates 2007-2009 under the name Fatsia to become a tombstone. Put some tinsel on the twigs. Add a bauble. If you don't have one of those, you can get Tinkertop to nick one from down the library.

And voila! You have a beautiful Christmas tree on the cheap.

I bet you wish you'd come round here before you tried to put up that tree this morning, don't you?

* Dig.

** Option 1 worked.


Rachel M. said...

Last year husband insisted on a plastic tree because the cats would always eat the pine needles and throw them up. So we finally got a fake tree after 8 years of marriage and real trees. We just found the cat has eaten the plastic pine needles by way of throw up that had been mostly cleaned up by the dog. If they both die, we will bury them in the flower bed with a sign that reads "Stupid and Stupider died by way of plastic needle consumption".

Minnie said...

We have a Stupid and Stupider here too!

The dog's a great little need to empty the cat litter sometimes!! Eeeew, yes indeedy!

The tree looks lovely, by the way. Beats ours....which currently has one star and a half dressed angel.

sharon said...

I'm still at the thinking about it stage. Might actually get round to assembling and decorating the tree next weekend . . or maybe Christmas Eve by which time the slave labour will have returned to the family nest for free food and pressies ;-)

MadameSmokinGun said...

Throwing up pine needles is one thing. Spotting the end of a string of gold lameter (if thats how you spell it) poking out of El Stupido Supremo's bottom is quite another. Witnessing one's mother and brother teaming up for the holding down and removal operation was really something else. The Ghost of Christmas Past can leave that bit out of my visit. Sometimes I fancy I can still hear that cat wail...

Firebird said...

No tree (ha ha!) and no indoor pets to eat bits of it IF we get one. Last year I convinced dd that making the SHAPE of a tree in the window using fairy lights was just as good as a 3D tree. Not sure if I'll swing it this year, and going round a friends where they decorate in early December did cause a bit of whining, but so far we remain a deconration free house :-)

Heather said...

Some excellent ideas. Personally i'm waiting for my family to arrive and pretending i was waiting to share the christmas joy with them and then suddenly being too busy/ill/something I haven't thought of yet to be able to help them.

Grit said...

thank you for your comments, people. i have to say that the thought of pinning down a cat to extract three metres of gold string from a its arse has had me laughing all day. i note that gertie the neighbour's cat legged it sharpish when she saw me coming. possibly because my eyes were fixed on her in a slightly crazed and experimental way.

Katherine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katherine said...

Last year I decorated, a bed-head that I hadn't got around to selling on TradeMe. The kids were slightly embarrassed (they are too old to complain outright) but have asked this year that we don't have one of those again. Nor the twig I painted white and decorated the year before.
But I reckon now they've left home, I can do what I want at last.

I am redesigning myself as 'Mrs Rather Kooky'. One day if they have kids of their own, I want to make them laugh.

Grit said...

a decorated bedhead! that is inspired, katherine. i hope it was standing in the front room and not attached to a bed. then we can definitely classify it as modern art.

Katherine said...

Post-modern, even! And in case you weren't just being polite:

Grit said...

katherine, that beadhead is STYLE. i aspire to your chutzpah!

(and i liked the touch of front room chocolate carnage too!)