Monday, December 10, 2007

How Christmas Is Supposed To Work

My buddy D'Arcy is apparently new to the real Christmas tree thing. I'm a little shocked, as I always believed he came from somewhere up north, a place where I assumed fake trees would be properly mocked for the craptastic little plastic devils that they are. For anyone out there curious about my take on artificial Christmas trees, here it is:
Fake trees are for housewives and little girls. Men slowly kill something beautiful by removing it from nature, erecting it in their dwelling, and carefully dressing it up before spending 2-3 weeks watching it slowly whither and die. When finally it has succumbed, men haul the carcass into the back yard and hack it to pieces in preparation for it's final resting place: the fire pit. Forget the Baby Jesus, this is what Christmas is all about. -- Dave Harris

But alas, it appears that D'Arcy has never had the joy of a real tree before! It seems he is learning quickly, but I fear he is not properly appreciating the traditions and joy that come with a real Christmas. Yes, I leave 'tree' off that sentence for a reason: Christmas without a real tree is not a real Christmas. This is not open for debate.

Anyways, this is how a real Christmas works, and it should be celebrated and loved for all its glorious tribulations:
  1. Buy a perfectly imperfect Christmas tree. Or better yet, chop one down out of the woods in the middle of the night (it helps to scout out the tree you want during the day when it is light out, that way you can avoid needing a flashlight when it comes time for the Big Dirty).
  2. Drag the tree into your house and stand it up in the base. If you do this right, you should have snow, needles, and branches all over your house.
  3. If you picked your tree properly, it will be at least 2-3 feet too tall. You will need to cut the bottom off, but you want to make sure that you don't cut too much. The proper final height should leave the tree-topper bent over sideways up against the ceiling. Do the cutting in place on the living room floor, which should closely resemble the tree's original home by the time you are done.
  4. While you get all sappy holding the tree up straight, have your wife or another family member fight their way through the needles and screw it into place. This entire process should result in at least one good yelling fit by the involved parties.
  5. Circle the tree like a wolf circles it's prey. You are looking to find the 'good' side, the side that has the least number of gaping holes and broken limbs. Once you've found it, face that side towards the viewing area.
  6. Your tree, if properly selected, is now gorgeously engrossing a good portion of the room it is in, pressing out against the ceiling and walls on 2-3 sides. If you've wedged it in good you might be set, but just in case, it isn't a bad idea to tie it to a couple hooks or fixtures. These ropes add ambiance and 'festive spirit' to your decor.
  7. Time for the lights! Now, if you're doing this right, you should have a couple boxes of tangled up lights, preferably containing strands from as many different eras as possible. Don't take time planning anything out or testing the lights though; just start grabbing strands of lights out at random and spiraling them down the tree, from top to bottom.
  8. If you are lucky, you will have a few bubble lights on your tree. These can be hard to find, so don't be ashamed if you don't have any yet, but be sure to acquire them whenever you can, and hold on to them dearly! You can go years, if not decades, without seeing bubble lights in stores. It is imperative that you treat the ones you have like Smeagol treats his precioussssss.
  9. And now is the time on Sprockets when we dance!
  10. After the dancing, get out your boxes of decorations. These decorations should be a mishmash of things you made when you were 6 and that were handed down to you from your dead grandparents. Nothing should 'match'. I repeat: NOTHING. SHOULD. MATCH. 'Designer' Christmas trees make the Baby Jesus cry.
  11. Once the tree is littered with ornaments, some people think they are done! Those people are dumb. For now it is time for the coup de grace: tinsel! And not garland or whatever, but real tinsel. Old tinsel is even better, it used to be heavier and hung nicer than the stuff they make now. So just like bubble lights, horde your good tinsel. Do NOT throw it out with the tree! Not only is that bad for the environment, but you need that good stuff!
  12. Tinsel is extremely important; it can mean the difference between looking at a rotting bark-carcass strung up in your living room, or viewing a modern-day, pine-scented Van Gogh. So when it comes to applying the tinsel, technique is very important. You can't just take hunks of it and slap it all over the tree in 15 minutes and say you're done. A properly tinseled tree is done one strand at a time, hung across one individual needle. Each little 'finger' on each branch should have at least 2-3 pieces of tinsel. To avoid frustration, it's best to start at the top and work down. Also work from the inside of the branch outwards. For a good 10 foot tree this process should take a few hours, so it is acceptable to span the work across a couple of days.
There you have it, the 12 building blocks which are the foundation of a fantastic Christmas! The tree at the Harris household will be going up next weekend, so I will post a picture of it sometime next week in all of it's imperfect, half-dead, tinsel-laden glory.

1 comment:

CanuckConsultant said...

That is awesome! I never thought about chopping it up for wood in the fire pit! You are truly a Paul Bunyan among men!