I am not calling my tree ugly because I'm ornery. No, no. It really is just...ugly. It's very old, smells weird, tilts to the left, has uneven and ratty branches, and is a PAIN to set up. By the time I have fluffed the last branch, I'm "sweating like a sinner in church."
I suppose my contempt for putting up my tree stems from a couple of reasons:
1.) Putting up the tree with spastic children around is equivalent to waging war with chimps. Why, oh why, do I bother? The tree comes out of it's box and something strange happens to my kids (and me)...
"Cam, stop whipping the Christmas lights around! They are NOT a weapon!"
"Lilly, if you dance around the tree like that you'll knock it over!"
"Camren! If you keep throwing those ornaments they will break!"
"Lilly, stop hitting your brother with the candy canes!"
"Why are you jumping off the couches?"
"You broke ANOTHER ornament!?! What did I tell you?!"
"WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE SHUT BING CROSBY UP AND TURN OFF THAT MUSIC!?"
2.) I expect perfection to the point of stress, which is dumb, I know. I want my children to behave beautifully. I want there to be peace in my home while we celebrate a family tradition. I want the ornaments to be evenly spaced apart. I want the tree to stay in an upright position. I want the big hole on the left side of the tree to disappear. I WANT THE STINKIN' LIGHTS TO WORK! Every year, I want it to be just perfect...and naturally, every year it's chaos.
Last night, in the midst of the tree trimming, it dawned on me that it will never be perfect. Life's not like that. The reality is that ornaments break, children fight, and old artificial trees smell weird. Lights will stop working as soon as you put them up, and "holly jolly" crooners on the radio will occasionally annoy you. It is okay.