For all the years of our marriage, all 12 of them, The Tree has been an issue. I married a Christmas curmdgeon who felt it was all too much, a result of being married in round 1 to a woman who loved excess I am told. More! More! More! Never again, he said.
I am not like that but after years of living in countries where Christmas was just another day, and it was usually hot as ...well worse than Florida or Hawaii... I loved being able to go back to my childhood love of Christmas. As a single woman I did what I could for those years between marriages and never got caught up in the Shoulds or Gottas because I knew both my money & my time were limited. Also, my children were teenagers and somewhat jaded.
Our first year of marriage was a battle for a live tree. Now I had someone to cut a tree again! God Forbid! he cried, and so I went with friends. We all got trees and I came home to a sullen husband. But I had my tree. He deigned to put it up and you'd think the Eiffel Tower was being constructed. I asked if I could help, occasionally, but mostly left the room. One doesn't encourage bad behavior or language. I don't and I knew it wouldn't help if I laughed.
That year we said No Presents, which to me meant no big presents. I mean, stockings have to have some little things in them or so I thought. The stockings were hung well before Christmas and he had a new one from me. Come Christmas morning, there was a man having a hissy fit because I had bought little things for his stocking while he got me Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was an early lesson in how each of heard different things from the same words. His sulk lasted a long time despite or because many of our male friends said "You did WHAT?" He stopped mentioning it.
In some subsequent years we had an artificial tree, ones that were unlit and required yards of lights. Other trees were pre-lit and half the lights wouldn't work for year two. One artificial tree drowned in a basement flood ....don't ask!
One year during our house renovation we had a funky tree of lights but no furniture or finished anything. I don't believe I asked for a live tree again even though the offer was made. Once bitten, twice shy.
There were years we had presents. Mostly we didn't and were both ok with that. The stockings don't get hung.
This year, I was going to pass on doing a tree but he looked a bit unsure. Did I really mean it or was I going to regret the decision? Finally I said, Ok, see if we have a tree in the cellar and we'll use it.
He found the skinny tree and it was put up with no complaints, nor any reminders. The lights worked! I decided to continue the use of cookie cutters on the tree and just a few more ornaments since the tree is in the kitchen. I finished up and saw looks of...well, not quite disapproval but certainly not satisfaction. I should have known. This man likes bling and excess whether he knows it or not. Simple and/or elegant don't quite do it for him. Yes, we have the tree up - just as he once said he never wanted at all - and now he thinks it should have more decorations, LOTS more! Sorry luv, I just don't have the energy for putting them on AND taking them all down and packing them away. That woman no longer lives in our house.
Perhaps next year we'll celebrate Hanukkah? Potato latkes and bags of gelt. Sounds perfect!
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