Charlie Brown tree is what late shopper gets for Christmas

I am a procrastinator who doesn’t like to shop, and that’s a bad combination, especially during the holiday season. This year the result is a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I’m doing my best to improve it before the big day, but so far nothing is working.

I actually looked at two trees before we hauled our choice to the checkout, which is one more than usual. My theory has been that once all the junk is piled on a tree its faults are hidden. This is incorrect.

Per tradition, I pruned out some of the crossing branches caused by chain saw shaping at the tree farm. The lights went on. Then we tried to decide which was the backside of the tree. That’s the side that’s the worst, the side to put to the wall, the side to ignore. And it turns out every side of our tree is the back side.

In my youth, my father would fix this problem with a drill and a couple of the branches that were cut off when a new bottom was cut on the tree. A couple of holes in the proper spot and voila — the perfect tree. The old man was a master of Christmas tree remodeling. On occasion, he’d even bargain for the worst two on the lot and use the top of my mother’s broom stick to unite two halves in perfect Christmas tree glory.

Alas, Christmas trees have to last more than a week these days, so I’ve been left to reposition ours a couple of times a day to try to mitigate our tree disaster. I actually only need one good side since I have a convenient corner to house this Charlie Brown specimen. Right now I’m attempting to hide the missing bottom branch with a pile of fake packages. No good disguise for a gap half way up the tree has occurred to me yet.

In other years, I could dazzle visitors with a seasonal floral display, but even my green thumb has failed me. Our Christmas cactus seemed to take their blooming cue from the snow in October, put on a tremendous Halloween display and produced their last few blossoms for Thanksgiving.

Amaryllis might have rescued me in other years, but none of the dozens I have can be roused from dormancy. I attempted to cheat and purchased a couple of new bulbs to make up for my laggards. This produced one feeble flower stalk out of the lot. It shows no signs of unfurling buds. Truly, cheating does not pay.

My husband’s orchids could make a magnificent display, but even they aren’t cooperating. My favorites, ‘Sharry Baby’ oncidiums, finished blooming weeks ago. Nothing else will open in time to distract from our wonky tree.

My old man’s solution to Christmas tree shortcomings is tempting. I have plenty of spare fir bows in the window boxes and a drill that I’m not afraid to use. But I’ll stick to shifting our tree around, backing it further into its corner and repositioning those gift boxes.

This isn’t the ugliest tree I’ve had. There are photos of some sad specimens when I was young, broke and happy to have any tree. But as the number of Christmas trees in my future dwindles, I’d like to enjoy them a little more than this one. So learn to shop I shall. Next year the search for the perfect tree is on, unless I can learn to love this one — flaws and all.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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