Saturday, December 23, 2006

O Christmas Tree!

Here's the Christmas tree that wasn't supposed to be - purchased and trimmed, ornaments and all, within 18 hours of my mother deciding at the eleventh hour that we really should have a tree after all.

We are not a Christian household -although I was baptized in the Church of England, my mother is not Christian (her mother is but her father is not), and my father, who was baptized also, was Roman Catholic. (It's a bit convoluted how this came to be...I still don't know the whole story.) So, whether or not we have a Christmas tree, which is, according to the judge who ordered the removal of a tree from the front lobby of the Jarvis St. courthouse to an administrative corridor, "a Christian symbol that might alientate people of other creeds and cultures" is of no real consequence.

We had donated our 20+ year old tree (we don't do real trees in this household), along with our mismatched ornaments to the Salvation Army when we were cleaning house for our renovations in the summer. With the kids all grown, my mother was quite fine about not having a tree. But given that she's throwing a big party for family and friends on Boxing Day, she's decided that the house isn't at all festive and we (I) must do something about it. Thursday evening. At 7:30pm. 3 days before Christmas. When the malls are teeming with last minute shoppers.

So 30 minutes after her pronouncment, I drag her out of the house with me on a mission to pick up a tree and ornaments. We hit Canadian Tire at 8:15 and have our 7 and a 1/2 foot tree picked out and paid for by 8:40. I didn't like any of the ornaments there so we headed across the street to Ikea, where I knew they had these lovely red glass ornaments.
I knew going in that the theme would be red, gold and silver...I was inspired by the rich reds and golds from the final act of The Nutcracker, which reminded me of old-school Chinese weddings and the red dress that brides wear called hong qua with the dragon and phoenix symbolic of the bride and groom.

Anyway, I picked up a bunch of red glass ball and icicle ornaments at Ikea and stopped at Shoppers Drug Mart on the way home because I remembered seeing nice ornaments there too - that's where the snowflakes are from.

By 9:30, we were home and I got started on setting up the tree, which took about an hour to unfurl. My mother pretty much left me to my own devices - she watched a bit of TV, took a shower and went to bed, while I was up until almost 1 am trimming the tree. It looked alright...but there weren't enough ornaments, so I went to Michael's the next day to pick up more red and gold glass ornaments. By 1pm, the tree was done.

Despite the last-minute rush, I'm very happy with how the tree turned out. Our old tree was rather sad looking - the innovations in tree design within the last 20 years is really quite amazing. Our old tree was short and not nearly as full looking...besides which, it didn't come pre-lit. Garland was absolutely necessary to hid the metal core that kept the "branches" together. With this tree, I could skip the garland all together and let the ornaments tell the story.

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