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