A personal best for setting up the Christmas tree

There was a woman on the street where I grew up that put her Christmas tree away fully decorated every year. She would cover it with a sheet and scoot it into a cold, dreary utility room.

I used to think that was the saddest thing in the world. What had happened to her love of lights, ornaments and artificial pine cones?

I now know what happened— they were sucked into a vortex called Age.

We have just set a record for the time taken to set up the Christmas tree.

On Day One, I pressed the small button that opens the garage door. We can’t get our tree and decorations down from a shelf without opening the garage door. I pulled down four boxes of decorations, but the tree is too heavy for me. I’d done my part.

My better half took some recyclables to the garage later and saw boxes of decorations stacked by the door to the kitchen and the tree box still on the shelf. He closed the garage door.

Day Two: I opened the garage door again. We were now on the same wavelength as he moved the huge box with the tree from the shelf to the garage floor. Then he came inside to watch football.

Day Three:  I was out for the morning, came home and found the box holding the tree in the front room. Puzzling. We must have left the garage door open and the UPS delivery guy had hauled it inside.

I asked the husband if he wanted to set up the tree. He said sure and moved a big ladder into the front room. The ladder and the box sat untouched.

The day passed, the light faded and a beautiful sunset splashed across the evening sky. To get a better look, I hurdled over the tree box, tiptoed across the back of a love seat, dropped to the floor and squeezed between the ladder and a chair to get to the window. It was a challenge, but I needed the cardio and the sunset was worth it.

Day Four: I wrote “Set Me Free” in the dust accumulating on the tree box. I considered opening the box but remembered that I already did my part by opening the garage door.

Day Five: We have three granddaughters for the day. They love to decorate Christmas trees. The cavalry has arrived!

I leave for an appointment and they are giddy with excitement about setting up the tree while I am gone.

I return home a few hours later. Only the base of the tree is standing and nobody is decorating. The girls are doing a makeover on Grandpa, who is asleep on a love seat.  What hair he has left on top is wrapped around a red roller. His stylist yanks out the roller, fires up the blow dryer and blasts hairspray. Two others attempt to put his good shoes on him. Clearly, he’s not sound asleep because each time they try to wedge his foot with the thick athletic sock into a dress shoe, he grimaces.

The makeover complete, I am ordered into the kitchen so he can make an entrance and they can enjoy the big reveal.

He enters the kitchen holding a “love letter” printed on the computer in 100-point Balloon font. “Roses are red, violets are blue, no one in the world is a sweet as you.” They printed it; he signed it. I feign surprise at his poetry skills and kiss both his cheeks.

Everyone returns to the front room and sets up the tree.

Five days, one grandpa makeover and a short love letter was all it took to set up the tree—a personal best.

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