Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Tree By Any Other Name...

It is Christmas in Southern New Mexico again. This means I have to switch to my cold weather clothes: long sleeve shirts. Usually, we have 60 degree days and 30 degree nights. If you don’t go out at night, a light jacket will suffice.

And that’s fine with me. Snow belongs on Christmas cards.

My wife, the Doc, has started decorating the house for Christmas. And this means we have our annual argument over a Christmas tree and decorations. Don’t get me wrong, I like Christmas. How can you not like a holiday where you sit around all day in your pajamas and eat candy out of your sock? Of course, I want my stocking hung by the fireplace we haven’t used in 15 years.

Decorating the house for Christmas is another matter, though. There are several problems. Primarily because the Doc and I are a little absent minded. We can easily put up decorations and forget them for months. Possibly years. I once gave my wife a dozen roses; she put the vase on the top of a bookcase. By the time we noticed them again, they were a rather nice arrangement of dried flowers. I’m pretty sure we kept them more than a few years.

The Doc doesn’t care if the Christmas angels she hangs around the dining room slowly morph into Valentine cupids. And they don’t look bad at Easter, either. It is a little harder to explain them by Independence Day. Little Ladies Liberty?

Our biggest disagreement is over the Christmas tree. The Doc wants a live one. She prefers that we buy a 5 foot pine in a large wooden box so I drag the 100 pound monster into the living room. There, our two cats go into hyper-mode as they try to systematically destroy this combination jungle gym and vertical litter box. How exactly does a 10 pound cat knock over a 100 pound tree? Since it always happens at night, I suspect that the cat opens the front door and invites in lots of friends.

Then, after Christmas, I am supposed to take what is left of the tree out into the yard and plant it somewhere. Our house is surrounded by trees; the satellite dish on the roof is never going to pick up a high definition signal unless they park a satellite directly over our living room.

Still, well over half the trees died. And I’m not real happy about keeping something in the living room that can erupt into roaring flames if you rubbed two teenagers together. Luckily, our sons, What’s-His-Name and The-Other-One have moved out; we don’t have any teenagers, but I still think forest fires are best outdoors.

The Doc won’t hear of a cut tree; she would much rather we buy a live tree and eventually kill it ourselves. Nor does she want a fake tree, either plastic or any other synthetic material. But mostly, she does not want my idea; the Christmas Bookcase.

If you walk into our house, once you get past all the trees, you will quickly realize that about all my wife and I own are books. They are everywhere, thousands of them. They are in every room and in or on everything. We obviously need more bookcases, so… Every Christmas, we could buy a new wooden bookcase (after all, it was once a tree) and put it in the corner of the living room. We can hang ornaments and lights on it, and put all the Christmas presents on the shelves. You could put a whole army of little angels on the top shelf.

Then, after Christmas, we move the bookcase to some other room, assuming we can find empty wall space somewhere. All during the year, we put the books we have read in the new bookcase. It might make finding a desired book a little easier; all you would have to do is remember the year you read the book.

I’m rather proud of this idea, I think it makes perfectly good sense and is a tradition that would undoubtedly quickly spread across the country, if only my wife would let me initiate it.


  1. Don't forget. Whats-his-name and The-other-one are both gonna be there for Christmas, so that tree still has a big chance to catch fire...

    The-other-one's best man

  2. I am having a Christmas bookcase this year. Ha Ha!