Monday, December 19, 2011

Looks Like a Tree to Me

Thought for the day: Beauty really IS in the eyes of the beholder.

In the middle of December every year, we used to make a trip to Santa's Christmas tree farm to pick out our perfect tree. Perfect for us, anyway. Some of the trees we chopped (and by "we" I mean my better half, of course) and hauled home were, shall we say, imperfect. If they were in a department store, they would've been relegated to the irregular bin. You know what I'm talking about. Slightly misshapen. Pregnant-looking. With an occasional bare spot. But our kids loved the whimsical "character" of those trees. (Me, too.)

My husband would set the tree in the stand, festoon it with lights, and then make himself scarce. Year after year, it was the same. The same decorations, the same carols playing in the background as the kids and I decked the sweet-smelling tree in all its glory. The kids groaning and giggling and begging me not to put those nasty old homemade ornaments on the tree again, but secretly thrilled that we still had them.

Then, the kids grew up, as kids will. Hubby and I decided to go with an (ugh) artificial tree. No more sweet scent. But, no need to remember to pour water into the darned stand every day, and no dried needles all over the floor, either. Hey, not so bad, after all. I put the same decorations on the fake tree, and listened to the same carols, but alas, the kids were doing their own thing, as twenty-somethings will, so I was doing the job by myself. Not nearly as much fun. But it was still a nice tall tree, and it still looked good, even if my enthusiasm for the chore was fading fast.

Time for a change. Instead of using the whole tall tree in all its glory, why not just use the top part, and put it on the table in front of the window. Okey dokey. Worked for me. And somehow, I still managed to squeeze all of the same old ornaments on the smaller version of the fake tree. The cat we had (or to be more accurate, who had US) at that time was a gray Persian named Smokey who was too genteel to do much climbing, but I'd hang unbreakable ornaments on the branches closest to the chair, so he could lounge on it and bat them at his leisure. Other than one or two broken balls, and the occasional need to pull tinsel out of his butt, no problems.

Then, came a really big change. Smokey died in the summer of 2009, and that October, we adopted two kittens from the shelter.

There's nothing genteel about these girls. They're part mountain goat. Especially Dash, the calico. She's a regular Dora the Explorer, and no place is too high or too precarious for her to explore. Dot isn't as much of a climber, but she's the eater. She thinks any greenery she finds is her own personal salad bar. A couple days ago, she got into the room with all the wrapped Christmas presents. Ripped every single bow off every single package, and nibbled on them, like it was some kind of a smorgasbord. (Pffft, I taped 'em back on.)

So, anyway, the point is, no way we could put up a tree, real or artificial, around these two. So, since Christmas of 2009, our tree has looked a little ... different.

It's a cardboard cut-out, painted green, with regular and bubble lights on it, and a silver star on top. Serves the purpose, and it gets stored as is, so there's no decorating ordeal. Just pull it out of the closet, set it up, and plug it in. And our girls? They like it just fine. They can still sit on "their" table and look out the window.

                            What can I say? It looks like a tree to ME. (Especially if you squint.)

                                 Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. Now this is an awesome idea. The cats seem to like it too :-)

  2. I'm allergic to Christmas trees (break out in hives)so we've had an artificial one for most of my life.

    Occasionally we'll get a real one just to check if I'm still allergic. Yup.

    Now, a cardboard one -- hadn't thought of that!

  3. You do what looks festive to me. Sweet little kitty babies by the way.

  4. Personally I'd hang the lights and baubles on an ironing board. Whatever turns you on. Cardboard looks good to me!

  5. Hi, Sarah. Our "tree" isn't nearly as pretty as a real, or even an artificial one, but it works, and like you say, the cats are okay with it. On the other hand, there's a very small artificial tree beside my computer ... only about a foot tall or so ... and I have to keep pulling Dot away from it, because she keeps gnawing on the tinsel.

    Dianne- Oooh, another new profile picture! Looks great! The cardboard tree works for us, but I wouldn't recommend it for you. Your kids are still young, so they probably look forward to the more traditional tree. Our kids and grandkids have real trees at their own houses, and get a kick out of our "unusual" version.

    Delores- Thanks. We think our kitties are sweet, too. (And not at ALL spoiled...)

  6. Cro- Well, it doesn't exactly "turn us on," but it'll do. Not nearly as nifty as your little bare-branched tree with the decorations on it. Now, THAT'S artistic!

  7. Hey, whatever works. It's better than a shredded tree on the floor with all the ornaments broken.

    Merry Christmas!

  8. LOL! Looks like a tree to me, too. We do what we can to make the holidays run more smoothly, huh?

  9. a different kinda tree for sure.....
    now If Chris brought that home to put up I would be livid!!!! ( I am a big girly traditionalist when it comes to trees) xxxx

  10. Your tree is beautiful and feline friendly. Ah, how well I remember the Christmas that Milhous the tabby knocked over the tree.


  11. Ha! I love creative solutions. Good for you. And I can relate to the kitty challenges. Ours have been known to take down large plants.

  12. The ability to squint is very underrated!

  13. LG- You're right, and I'm afraid that's exactly what we'd end up with if our girls had their way with a real tree.

    Linda- Yes, ma'am, we sure do.

    John- I used to be a big girly traditionalist, too, and then age came along and tapped me on the shoulder. (Heck, more like it kicked me in the teeth!) Then the kitties came along, and I'd rather have them than a tree any day.

    Lola- That must've been a riot! But cats will be cats, won't they?

    Tina- I love our kitty challenges, as you put it so aptly. They're more entertaining than anything on TV.

    Al- Yup, and I've gotten to be a champion squinter, too.

    Y'all take care.

  14. OMG what a great solution to the kitty/tree problem! I love it. Have a very Merry Christmas!

  15. ONLY you would have such an awesome cardboard tree. I am loving it. And counting the days that I can do it too. Alas the youngest isn't out of here for at least 5 more years.

    Now, if I got a cat, that might expedite things. heehee Your kitties are so cute - and they look like trouble. Then again, you wouldn't have docile, sedate kitties. Nope, no you. :D

  16. Oh, cats and Christmas decorations! I TOTALLY understand your cardboard tree!

  17. Reminds me of the time my buddy's pet racoon got into the tree... but that's another story.

  18. Hi, Julie. Thanks for coming out of your hiatus to leave a comment ... and to sign on as a follower. I appreciate it. Welcome aboard. Now, back to your break, and have a very Merry Christmas.

    Skippy- I'll look forward to seeing your cardboard masterpiece in five or six years. (Sure makes decorating a lot easier!) No, our kitties aren't exactly sedate, but they sure are fun!

    Kara- Yeah, at least with these two cats, decorations, or anything dangly and shiny, issue an engraved invitation to calamity.

    Take care.

  19. Mr. C- Oh, I can just imagine what kind of havoc a raccoon could wreak! (But they sure are cute.)

  20. I love your tree and your kitties. :)

    Merry Christmas, Susan!

  21. Thanks, Liz. And a very Merry Christmas to you, too.

  22. It takes a lot to outwit the kitties! :)

  23. That it does, Austan! But at least, they know who's in charge around here. (They are ...)

  24. yep...squinting works.