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Conquering My Christmas Tree

December 6, 2010

Thursday night, I attacked the holiday season with a vengeance. It was time to put up the (damn) tree. I simply couldn’t stare at the boxes anymore. Here’s how it went:

8:30: Decide that damn it, I’m going to put up the tree.

8:45: After getting a paper cut on packing tape while trying to get the tree out of the box (is it called a paper cut if it’s from tape? A tape cut? Either way it feels like a paper cut), take tree out of box.

9:00: Put together tree stand and start stacking tree up. Wow, this isn’t so hard after all.

9:05: Tree is stacked up. The top tier was the hardest to get on. I’m simply not tall enough people.

9:06: Feel like a bad ass because I got the tree up by myself. It should be easy from here.

9:20: After struggling for what seems like hours, I can only get the bottom tier of lights working. Reread the directions. No, I did it right. Why in the hell are the middle and top tiers of lights not working? Cannot figure it out to save my life.

9:25: Realize that it’s possible the top two tiers of lights don’t work at all. I should have checked them before I stacked the tree. First, I try to sort of maneuver the tree to its side so I can hold it with one hand, and plug in the top tier with the other. Let’s just say this was a fail that resulted in the tree completely toppling over. Common sense is not my forte.

9:27: Unstack the tree (aka start over) and plug in each tier of lights separately. Yes, they all work. They just don’t work together.

9:32: Refollow the directions and start over. Certainly I just did one simple thing wrong.

9:40: F*cking lights still do not work.

9:40: Stomp my feet and throw a tantrum like I’m five.

9:42: Call my Mom. She will make it better.

9:44: Mom can’t make it better. Obviously, because she can’t see the tree.

9:45: Tell my mom I’m considering throwing the tree off of my balcony. How good would that feel? Then I realize I’d have to go down there and get it. Turns out I’m too lazy for these types of grand displays of emotion.

9:46: Cry. Tell Mom I wish I could call my ex fiancée to put the tree together for me. I had it so good with him. He is in IT, and knows everything about everything technical or electrical or WHATEVER. I never had to do anything for myself. It feels like I’m stunted in my development as a human being from dating him for so long. When it comes to putting stuff together, anyway.

9:47: Get off the phone with my mom. Then my step dad calls, and offers to come over the next day to help with the tree. He asks me what time I get off, and I tearfully tell him I took the day off. He asks why and I tell him it’s because I’m depressed. Felt true at the moment, but in reality, I took the day off to take care of some doctor’s appointments and holiday shopping. In hindsight, I still need to tell him that I was just being overly dramatic and not to call the shrink on me.

9:50: Ignore the stupid directions (what do they know anyway?) and rig the tree to turn on. All the lights are now on, but I know I’ve done something wrong. I feel like a failure and can’t decide if I should move forward and finish the tree knowing something is incorrect about it, or wait until Chef comes over so maybe he can figure out what I’ve done wrong and fix it.  

10:00: Exhausted by the ordeal. Unplug the tree. Get a bowl of ice cream. Ice cream makes everything better. Especially when it’s covered in Hard Shell.

10:05: Eat ice cream, and then proceed to fall asleep on the couch while watching a movie.

11:30: Wake up and think WTF! I gotta finish this damn tree. And no, I don’t need a man to fix it for me. Are all the lights on? Check. Maybe I didn’t follow the directions, but damn it, it works. Time to put on the ornaments.

11:51: Brand new ornaments are annoying. You have to attach the metal hangie thing to each one individually. Luckily, Chef reminded me to get those when we bought the ornaments, or I would have been screwed. Or used dental floss to hang the ornaments. I wonder if that would have worked?

12:39: Star is on top of the tree. Ornaments have been hung. I have glitter all over me, and a slight tear in my eye. Oh, and scratches all over my arms from wrestling with the tree. It looks like I’ve been attacked by a cat. But I’m proud that I put the tree up all by myself. I’ve never done that before.

Sunday, 4:00 p.m. (aka days and days later): Something is wrong with my tree. It needs color. It needs something. I run to Target and buy purple ornaments. Don’t tell turquoise, but purple is starting to give it a run for its money as my favorite color.

Sunday, 5:00 p.m.: Best friend Dawn comes over to help put up the new ornaments. And by help, I mean I put the metal hangie things on them and then direct her (from the couch) on where they go. “A little to the left. Higher. No, lower. Perfect. Wait – not perfect. A little lower. Now, that’s perfect. Here’s another. We need more color in the back.” I’m a good supervisor. Should have thought of this the other night.

Sunday, 5:30 p.m.: Tree is done. I think it’s beautiful and perfect (for me). Maybe it took days to complete, maybe I drug my feet a bit, but I’m happy with it. It’s the tree of my 25th year. The year that was nothing like I anticipated, but probably the year I grew more than I had in almost any other year of my life.

I want to express my sincere appreciation to everyone for their support on Thursday’s post about my struggle with the holiday season. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate your comments and kind words. It is because of your support that I was able to force myself to put this tree up. So, at the end of the day, this is your tree too. I hope you enjoy it.

Ornaments in their boxes from Target

Here are most of my ornaments, all ready to be put on the tree.

Butterfly ornament from Target

Beautiful butterfly Chef found for me at the store (I love butterflies!).

Purple ornament

One of the late additions to the party - purple ornaments.

Christmas ornaments

Pretty glass ornament (fingers crossed I don't break it).

Loved this ornament. My mixer is red, though!

Star on top of the tree.

I thought this guy was cute.

Loved this striped ornament too. For some reason it feels the girliest of the bunch to me.

Apparently, my tree is glitter themed. I'm OK with that. Except glitter is all over my house.

Christmas tree next to a fireplace

Here's the completed tree! Well, sort of completed. I still need a tree skirt. Dawn had me turn on the electric fireplace to add to the mood of the shot!

56 Comments leave one →
  1. December 6, 2010 8:48 am

    Beautiful! You did it! 🙂

  2. duke1959 permalink
    December 6, 2010 9:10 am

    Good job! Your story is why my wife and I went and bought a pre wired tree!

    • December 7, 2010 10:53 pm

      Dude: Thanks! Mine was prewired though, just not wired correctly, I think!

  3. December 6, 2010 9:12 am

    Good job – your tree looks great! I enjoyed the way you relayed the story of how it all came together too. I know that feeling of wanting to throw something off a balcony but then going all rational and realising that it wouldn’t seem like such a good idea immediately afterwards! If only we could have those few seconds of release without having to clear up the results!

    • December 7, 2010 10:54 pm

      Matt: Thank you very much. I agree with you completely, it would be awesome if we could do these totally irrational things, enjoy the moment, and then rewind it and do it the right way. But, on my bucket list is to do something completely crazy like throw my tree off the balcony. Life would have gone on if I did that, and it would have felt soooo good!

  4. December 6, 2010 9:15 am

    Catherine! Your tree is gorgeous! I. LOVE. IT.

    A few things that may make you laugh:
    1. Turquoise is my favorite color. My feelings will be hurt too, if you turn to purple. 😛 Lol, JK.
    2. About throwing the tree off the balcony… My girlfriends and I in college threw a couch off of the balcony of our apartment. It was old and nasty and the front office refused to come get it; we were on the 3rd floor. It was hysterical.
    3. I am obsessed with your mixer ornament. Chris just bought me my first mixer 😀 I must know where you found that precious, little decorative piece!
    4. I throw tantrums, too. Haha. It’s a joke between my mom and I that I never grew past the age of 5.

    Have a fantastic weekend my friend! Great post 🙂 Started my morning off with a good laugh.

    • December 7, 2010 10:56 pm

      Thank you!!
      I’m so jealous of your story of throwing the couch off the balcony. Sounds like such a blast and so funny!! I’m gonna have to do something like that someday 🙂

      Congrats on your mixer! I think those things are awesome. I task you with making whipped cream with it. A cinch and so yummy!! I found the mixer ornament at Target, by the way 🙂

      Glad I’m not the only one still throwing tantrums in my 20s. I was almost afraid to admit to that!

  5. December 6, 2010 9:37 am

    That is a nice tree! Putting the tree up is always stressful. Usually because the lights are tangled. I love that butterfly ornament!

  6. December 6, 2010 9:39 am

    Applause! Clapping from a huge audience. Seriously I am proud of you for accomplishing this task. Merry Christmas

  7. December 6, 2010 10:17 am

    I tried to deny it for a while, but purple is and always will be my favorite color. Teal is always a nice compliment! I love the sparkles, too. The tree looks fabulous! Good job getting it together yourself–go girl!

    • December 7, 2010 10:57 pm

      Thank you very much! I think purple and teal actually are really pretty together. They were to be my wedding colors, lol. But my tree is not my wedding colors. It’s just my tree with my fave colors on it 🙂

  8. December 6, 2010 10:18 am

    The tree looks great!! Glad you didn’t throw it off the balcony. And I love that mixer ornament!!


    • December 7, 2010 10:58 pm

      Thanks, Lucky! Isn’t the mixer cute? I was obsessed with it when I found it at the store. They probably could have charged me triple for it and I wouldn’t care 🙂

  9. December 6, 2010 10:49 am

    Here’s an easier process for next year:

    8:30 AM: Decide that you’re going to put up a tree.
    8:31 AM: Realize how much work it’s going to be to put up a tree.
    8:40 AM: Convert to Judaism.

    • December 6, 2010 4:46 pm

      Ha! That’s why I don’t do a tree in my place and instead attend Hannukah latka parties during the holiday season. Lighting a candle has that simple elegant appeal. I’m an *honorary Jew* among my Jewish friends and some of them believe that I am more Jewish than they are.

      • December 7, 2010 11:00 pm

        Amy: Love that you are an honorary Jew. I’ve never had a close friend that was Jewish, but I’d love to learn more about their traditions (during the holidays and otherwise, as I’ve only recently learned that Hannukah is not equivalent in status to Christmas. Who knew?! haha).

    • December 7, 2010 10:58 pm

      LOL, Dennis!! I should have contacted you before I even began this endeavor – such good advice!!! 🙂

  10. December 6, 2010 11:41 am

    Very well done. Sorry it was such an ordeal. I have a little tree that is about a foot and a half tall. All I do is pull it out of a garbage bag and plug it in. That’s how I roll.

    Oh, I have a nativity set too…even though I’m not really down with the Jesus anymore.

    Congrats on conquering it!


    • December 7, 2010 11:02 pm

      Thanks, Crystal! Hmmm I’m a little jealous of your small tree. Seems like so much less work. Wanna switch trees? You can take mine down for me and I’ll take yours down 🙂

      Re your nativity set: I went to a Christmas light show with my parents this past weekend. They had a large nativity scene out. I sarcastically said, “What’s with all this baby Jesus stuff? Where’s Santa?” The way the people looked at me, you’d think I was the devil himself. I was just kidding people – learn to take a joke!! haha 🙂

  11. December 6, 2010 1:01 pm

    @Dennis: FUNNY

    I cried about 90 minutes in to my tree/light ordeal on Saturday and asked God why I didn’t have a husband who do could do the crappy parts of Christmas while I baked. I’m pretty sure God didn’t appreciate my sarcasm.

    I like your tree… it just needs presents underneath.

    • December 7, 2010 11:04 pm

      Aww I’m sorry to hear you had a rough time too. I do miss having someone for all this crappy grunt work during the holidays. It was certainly easier when I had someone to help! But then again, it’s nice to do everything on my timeline and I was able to decorate the tree just as I wantd. So I guess I can see the upside.

  12. December 6, 2010 2:01 pm

    Cute! I must do mine soon. I was going to do it tonight, but I’m tired! Maybe tomorrow…hope I get the lights to work 😉

    • December 7, 2010 11:05 pm

      Livvy: Thanks! I know, it’s so much work. It’s like you gotta motivate yourself for it, like the way I have to motivate myself to go to the gym (not that I am able to achieve that often… lol!).
      Good luck with your tree!

  13. Aunt Patty permalink
    December 6, 2010 2:45 pm

    It takes me 2 days to do my tree. So you did good girl!

    • December 7, 2010 11:05 pm

      Thanks, Aunt Patty! Can’t wait to see your tree on Christmas 🙂

  14. Danielle permalink
    December 6, 2010 3:34 pm

    That is a funny low down on the details! Made me smile. 🙂 Have a good week!!

  15. December 6, 2010 4:27 pm

    I have to admit, purple makes your tree pop! In a good way. It may not be the most traditionally festive color, but I think red and green and silver and gold are going to have a run for their money now.

    I also love the mixer ornament.

    • December 7, 2010 11:07 pm

      Thanks, Mark. I’m so over the red/green/gold Christmas theme everyone is sporting these days (and forever). It’s time for purple to take over. Maybe you should change out your lights on your garage to purple?? haha jk 🙂

  16. December 6, 2010 4:53 pm

    I love your girly Christmas tree! It’s a perfect tree.

    I can totally relate to your story… It’s hard to do things alone – especially when you are used to doing them with someone else. And the holidays are the time of year that make you feel the most alone and lonely… that’s for sure. I didn’t just go through a difficult break up. But moving back home to the US hasn’t been easy and the holidays this year seem really hard for some reason.

    But you should be proud of the fact that you now have your own tree and you are creating some of your own traditions. And what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And I even bet that in the future you will look back at this holiday season and remmeber it with a bit of nostalgia – sometimes the hardest times are sweet in hindsight because you realize it was those times that helped you grow.

    • December 7, 2010 11:09 pm

      International Woman of Mystery: I know the holidays must be hard for you this year, being in an entirely different country and away from the friends you’ve built and the lifestyle to which you’ve become accustomed. I total feel and am sending good thoughts your way.

      I also hope that I look back at this holiday season with nostalgia, and I hope that I am proud of the way I behaved and the way I dealt with my sadness. That’s the goal anyway!

      Happy holidays. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  17. Deb permalink
    December 6, 2010 5:54 pm

    oh WOW I LOVED THIS STORY! This one has to be my favorites I laughed the entire time. I even had to read it to tyrus!

  18. December 6, 2010 8:23 pm

    Such cool ornaments!! You’ve inspired me to spruce up my own tree because my ornaments are boring. I’m glad you pulled it all together!

    • December 7, 2010 11:10 pm

      Thanks, Gizzy! Appreciate it.
      The hard part of the ornaments for me is that I’m so used to having ornaments that have meaning to me, that I accumulated over the years. Everything on my tree is brand new. But, it’s starting to feel like it’s mine, slowly but surely. I really look forward to next year when they have seen one Christmas and have become part of my traditions.
      Happy holidays 🙂

  19. December 6, 2010 8:42 pm

    OMG. this is hilarious. No doubt I will succumb to such Christmas decor drama when I move out. My mother does all the decor at my house. I just supervise…

    The tree is BEAUTIFUL nonetheless. You did a wonderful job 🙂

    • December 7, 2010 11:12 pm

      Hell, there’s nothing wrong with supervising! I realized too late, when Dawn was helping me, that supervising might just be what I’m best at when it comes to the holidays! LOL.

      Maybe lend a hand to your mom this year. So you won’t be so shell shocked when you are on your own and have to do it all by yourself! You can ease yourself into it 🙂

  20. December 6, 2010 8:58 pm

    Yay! I am so exited that you got the tree up! (As I am avoiding most holiday thing this year, I will live vicariously through your tree experience). Also, purple is my favorite colour, its a good colour… way better than turquoise!

    • December 7, 2010 11:13 pm

      TL: Haha, one vote marked for purple. I understand why you are avoiding the holidays and you are welcome to share my tree. Dawn (my bff and upstairs neighbor) is going to put a train set under my tree. Anything you want to put on it or under it? It can be a community tree 🙂

  21. Mom permalink
    December 6, 2010 11:22 pm

    a Little Red nail polish will take care of that mixer
    Lov ya

    • December 7, 2010 11:14 pm

      Haha good idea! Didn’t think of that. Speaking of mixers, my red mixer is still in my car from Thanksgiving. Boo… I’m so lazy I don’t want to carry it back upstairs. LOL!

  22. Patrice Tanaka permalink
    December 7, 2010 1:47 am

    Beautiful! Brava my brave one. Love, PT

    • December 7, 2010 11:15 pm

      Thank you so much, Patrice!! I’ve never been “brava”ed before. Feels sorta nice! 🙂

  23. December 7, 2010 5:49 am

    You did it! An accomplishment for yourself. Always look back at this as the year you did it all by yourself. And the tree didn’t get thrown overboard! 🙂

    • December 7, 2010 11:16 pm

      SimplyStac: You are right! I’m glad I can look back on this year and know I did it (even though I was dragging my feet). However, I can imagine that about five years from now, if I had thrown the tree off the balcony, it might have been fun to tell that story! 🙂

  24. BeneathTheSpinLight permalink
    December 7, 2010 12:12 pm

    Lookin’ good! Glad you put it up!
    Also, I totally call my Dad when I can’t figure things out… but he usually can’t help either because he’s hundreds of miles away.

    • December 7, 2010 11:18 pm

      Beneath: Thank you! I’m happy I did too. I’m enjoying it already.

      What is it with trying to call our parents to help when it’s almost impossible for them to do so being far away? And I also love how sometimes I get annoyed… like how dare they not know what’s wrong with my [fill in the blank]. LOL!

      BUT there are times when I call them and they have the perfect answer…and I know exactly why I’ve called for all these years 🙂

  25. December 8, 2010 8:17 am

    Purple actually looks great on a Christmas tree. It looks great!

    • December 9, 2010 9:18 am

      Thank you! I wasn’t sure about the purple, that’s why I didn’t get it the first time around, but now it’s my favorite part of the tree!


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