Before kids, my husband would completely indulge my Christmas decorating extravagance. While I understand there is a fine line between festive and “someone put this lady on Honey Boo Boo,” I struggle with which side of that line I fall on each year. When we were dating, Aaron thought my need to use All. The. Decorations. was cute and charming. In those early days, he was willing to dangle from the roof to hang twinkle lights for me. He’d buy those extra yards of tinsel because I batted my eyes and said I loved it so. He’d laugh and find somewhere else to store yet another set of Christmas dishes. And that sweet man even let me put up a hot pink tree in his house. Now that, my friends, is love. When my son and daughter arrived on the scene, my obsession for all things twinkly and bright on Christmas hit an all-time high.
The tree needed to be bigger!
More lights on the house!
More presents for everyone!
We need more tinsel!
But with kids comes crap. All kinds of crap. Crap in the literal sense, and crap in the way of your house slowly morphing into Toys R’ U. With this newly acquired crap, my husband’s patience began to wear thin with my love of all things Christmas and my excessive need to show holiday joy through lights, glitter, and tinsel. Ebenezer Scrooge, anyone?
Since marriage is all about compromise (sham), we have instated a new tradition, the “Christmas Bargaining.” Like all good laws, it comes out of necessity and long fought battles.
While searching online for holiday decor I may have missed last season, I read that a local tree farm had a special event where families could choose their Christmas tree from acres of Douglas and Frasier firs, and once your O’ Tannenbaum has been chosen and cut down, a team of Husky dogs will happily pull the tree to your car. Imagine the holiday cheer! Surely the dogs will be wearing wreaths of holly around their necks and bells on their little leather harnesses. Mush, doggies! Let’s get that tree on our swagger wagon. Mamma has some tinsel waiting at home for this one!
However, there was one teesey, tiny detail I left out. We (and by we I mean my husband) would need to cut down our tree. Surely he wouldn’t mind this manly act. It was all for the sake of Christmas. Think of the kids! Think of me! Think of the tinsel! Let’s get to it, chop, chop!
Driving out to the tree farm, the kids and I loudly sang a few rousing renditions of “Jingle Bells” as my always doting husband tolerated his tone deaf carolers. That’s about when his Christmas joy ran thin.
When we unloaded the kids and headed into the rows of trees, we passed a heap of hot, panting fur. It seems the unseasonably warm weather was a bit much for the Husky dogs and they needed a break. A break for the rest of the day.
Through my best adorable pout I broke the news to him, “Bummer. I’m so sad the dogs can’t pull our tree to the car. Oh, by the way, we (and by we, I mean you) have to cut down the tree, drag it several hundred yards back to our car, and attach it to our roof.”
Hilarity did not ensue, and some may say he even turned a shade that resembled the Grinch. He looked at me and grumbled “No. Just no.”
But I had two babies in Christmas sweaters, a video camera, my best Christmas face on, and I was wearing reindeer ears. I mean, who could ever say no to that sweet image?
The teenager working the cash register handed him an ax and a few yards of twine. My man was trapped and the only thing left to do was cut down a dam Christmas tree.
You know, I always imagined tree cutting as a quick process. Turns out, it’s not. It involves a lot of cursing, sap, dirty looks, and near severing of digits. During a few of his breaks from the chopping, I offered some quality time under the mistletoe to make up for his hard work. That offer may have been enticing at first, but even after we all yelled “timber,” his work was not done.
While December in Maryland tends to be quite chilly, that day felt more like spring. And this warmth was ever apparent from the sweat pouring off Aaron’s forehead and he dragged the tree past the other families. “Happy holidays!” I chirped to the other wives we passed, while my husband just mumbled some inaudible groans in solidarity to the other fellows chopping and dragging.
After our escapades in the Christmas tree farm I was banned from ever suggesting such ridiculous ideas when all I was willing to do was sit in the car and feed Goldfish crackers to the kids.
So this year I agreed to get the tree from the place that all you do is point and pay and they do the rest, and my husband agreed to a giant inflatable Santa for our front yard. Compromise
Peace has been restored in the universe and the Christmas season. Now if only I could get him to agree to an inflatable Rudolph.