Each year, we follow the same routine: We go to the Christmas tree lot and fret interminably over tree choices, vexing the poor attendant who develops tree-twirling elbow. I am all about fluffiness and proportion. My spouse, on the other hand, will invariably choose an enormously rotund tree that will not make it through front door. A compromise of sorts will be reached and the tree will be stuffed, and I MEAN STUFFED, through the door.
After New Year's and the sad onset of tree rigor mortis, it will need to be cut into pieces for removal out the door, but, hey, that's months away. And if all it takes to delight your spouse for weeks is a fat, sparkly tree, who's to say practical is always right? Here's my checklist (not always heeded, but good to at least have a plan) for a happy Christmas tree experience.
- If you're going to have cozy fires in the fireplace and a real tree during the Christmas season, make sure you've had your chimney swept recently.
- Make sure your vacuum cleaner works -- lots of pine needles are headed your way. On the bright side, every time you vacuum, your house will smell like the forest.
- Measure your door and bring a tape measure to the lot or farm. (This may not do any good, but at least you've made a valiant effort.)
- Find the tree stand and put in car for trip (if the trunk won't fit or those darn screws have rusted out, now is a good time to know).
- Bring extra string and bungee cords for strapping the behemoth to the car.
- Check the lights before you put them on the tree. If it seems like you will have a nervous breakdown trying to find out the cause of malfunction, just buy a new set. Really.
- Bring out the boxes of decorations before you go out for tree, so you're ready to go when you get back and are rarin' to go.
- Buy at least one new Christmas CD or make a surprise compilation to play while trimming.
Continued on page 4: Extra Recipes