Last week I was overcome by the strangest urge. I wanted to buy an artificial Christmas tree. Given that the smell of a fresh Christmas tree is one of my favourite things in the world, this was a rather odd feeling to have. But the appeal of having the lights already attached, no possibility of a repeat of our leaking tree episode of a few years back, and not having to clean up thousands of needles shed by a tree that wasn't quite as fresh as advertised suddenly seemed irresistible.
I floated the idea by Jay and Alexandra. Well, floated is really the wrong word since it never even got off the ground. There was no discussion. No weighing out the merits of real vs. artificial. They just looked at me like I had suddenly morphed into the Grinch Who Wanted To Steal Their Tree. Clearly this is not going to be the year of the big changeover.
Regrouping, I tried to figure out why I wanted an artificial tree. This was about the same time Fergus and Jenny were going through one of their crazy spurts, chasing each other around the house like the feral creatures they can sometimes be. Suddenly I had my answer! This was going to be our first Christmas with Fergus in the house. We did have Jenny last Christmas, but that was back in her uncorrupted pre-Fergus days. All I had to do last year was make sure I hung the decorations out of her reach. This is not a difficult task when your dog is a miniature dachshund.
Once I identified the problem I was able to come up with a plan. My plan is this. Not a single ornament of value, sentimental or otherwise, will grace this year's tree. The ornaments that do go on will all have to be located more than three feet off the floor (Fergus is a very good jumper). They will also have to be classified as "not lethal if ingested" due to the fact there are no guarantees that in a house with a cat that the ornaments we put on the tree will actually stay there.
It seems silly to spend money on a tree that is going to be left practically naked, so I phoned Kellen. He said he and Anita would love to go out and find us a tree in the bush. He warned me that it might only be four feet high and have eight branches, to which I responded, "Perfect!" That would give us a good foot that was out of Fergus's reach to work with as far as decorations, and since the number of ornaments we are going to put on it has been greatly reduced, eight branches sounded about right. Maybe even excessive.
I wish I had figured all of this out earlier. I would have made a whole tree full of the Arne and Carlos Christmas balls. As it stands right now I have knit two. One was mailed to Rebekah to help fill her apartment in Korea with some Christmas cheer. The other one is staying here, and unless I can get a couple more knit between now and December 25, this may well be the only ornament on our 2012 tree. It meets all of my qualifications. It is not breakable, it has no sentimental value, it didn't cost a fortune, and if one of the dogs manages to eat it I won't have to call poison control. (Which, as an aside, I never once had to do when my kids were little, but have had to do twice since Fergus entered our home.)
Julekule, from the book 55 Christmas Balls to Knit.
Have you switched to an artificial tree? Or are you a staunch traditionalist and still putting up a real tree? I would love to hear your thoughts.