Monday, December 21, 2015

Our Little Charlie Brown Tree

Last year, we used a potted spruce bought at auction in late October as our Christmas tree.   We'd bought 8 or 9 of them, intending to use them as a screen along the road on the front of our property, but I'd snagged the best looking one to bring in the house and use for Christmas.  It worked perfectly, being small enough that it didn't take up much room in our all ready crowded living room (what with Toad's baby swing and other large items for small humans that had moved in a few month before), and it even lived and grew and thrived when we planted it back outside after the holiday was over. (Which reminds me that the weather last Christmas was also unseasonably warm).

This year, I wanted to do the same thing, but ran into a few problems with that plan.  First of all, there were no trees at the October auction that is held just a few miles away.  And October is their last auction of the year.  Second, everywhere I called to inquire about potted trees of the 3-4' variety either weren't carrying them this year, or wanted $45 each!  Third, when I grudgingly went to look at the $45 trees in the middle of last week, I didn't like a single one of them.  Well, that's not totally true, I liked a couple of the white pines, but a white pine would look kind of funky planted in our row of spruces put in last year (one of the spruces didn't make it through the summer, so now there is a gap I wanted to fill with this year's Christmas tree).

So, I gave up on the idea of a potted tree for Christmas 2015, and began combing the cut-tree lots for the shortest one I could find.  I didn't want a tree that was wide at the base; even though there is no longer a baby swing in my living room, I still need to seat 10 people, most all of whom are adults (and almost half of whom are 6 foot tall or above) in the living room for Christmas and the days immediately before and after. I also wanted a tree short enough it could be put up on a table of sorts, so the presents could go under it (also saving floor-space for seating).  Plus, I didn't want it so tall that the cat, Yarn Thief, would be tempted to climb it.

Do you know that finding a short tree is very difficult?  Apparently there isn't much of a market for them around here.  I finally brought home a very scruffy looking tree (for the grand sum of $25, but part of that goes to the local underprivileged so somehow it doesn't sound that outrageous for a scraggly tree) that was in the height range I wanted.  In fact, it was so spindly, that I could easily carry it (and toss it into the back of the pick-up truck) with one hand.

I was quite happy with my little tree, even if it did look pitiful sitting off by itself on a corner of the tree lot, segregated from the 'desirable' trees that towered seven feet and more.

That is, until I tried to put it into my tree stand at home.  It seems that my little Charlie Brown Christmas tree did not have a trunk with a big enough circumference to meet the adjustable screw-pegs that hold the tree upright and centered in the stand. Hmm.  Who would have figured?  I didn't know tree stands had a minimum trunk diameter to meet.

Oh well, I just employed a little farmer ingenuity and got some broken off garden stakes from in the barn.  Then DS1 screwed them to the trunk of our Christmas tree, making it big enough that the tree stand could 'grab' it.  Tree too skinny?  Shim it!

I put down an old table cloth (from when we had a small, round dinner table) on the floor where the tree would go, then put two wooden crates upended on top of that, then set the tree (now firmly in it's stand) on top of the crates, and tied on the tree skirt (that I made years ago from a women's wrap skirt pattern since I couldn't find a tree skirt that extended as far as I desired mine to go.)

After that, I brought up the box of lights and the box of ornaments from their storage spot in the basement.  It only took one strand of lights to wrap the tree completely.  Gotta love easy decorating!  And think of all the electricity saved versus a tree requiring three or four or more strands of lights!

Then I opened the container of non-breakable ornaments, handed it to K3 and Toad, and told them to have at it!  You should have seen the looks on those little faces when they realized they were allowed not only to touch the ornaments, but to put them where ever they wanted on Grandma's tree!  So some got laid on the branches instead of hung (Toad doesn't have the dexterity yet to hang stuff, but he went to town setting ornaments sideways on the tree limbs, picking them up and trying a different spot if they fell through).  And some branches got multiple ornaments while others got none.  But who cares?  Those kids had a ball decorating the tree, and really we're the only ones who are going to see it anyway.  Doesn't need to be perfect.

Three ornaments on one branch?
Why not?

How about seven plastic candy canes and a bell on a ribbon?
Sure, let's have some preschooler fashion!

The lower half of the tree is very full of ornaments, because of course the kids had to put on every single one from their container.  The upper half, I put carefully chosen ones on, picking out those of the right size and weight from my more breakable ornaments.

lower portion

the whole shebang

And, in case you were wondering, yes, you can pretty much see right through my Christmas tree.  But it's up, and the kids love it, and the living room is still occupiable by a crowd.  And that's all that matters.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I LOVE your little tree. It is perfect in every way! I too like small trees and each year my husband wants a big tree. Well, this year I got my wish and my little tree was less than $25.00! (We also have a large fake tree in the entry). I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2016. Pat :)