No Christmas Tree for Me


Eight Christmases in this house and only two trees. Both were living, and they got planted in my yard.

Guess what? My yard is full. That’s what happens when you get rid of your grass, fire your gardener, and watch volunteer trees grow on their own, self-planting trees with a little help from the wind or the birds.

I don’t do Christmas trees anymore. They are not necessary in California where you can go outside and find living greenery year round. Plus, I have two rather rambunctious young dogs, and not a lot of space, anyway.

Don’t call me Bah, Humbug or Mrs. Grinch. I have plenty of decorations, but the older I get the less I want to decorate. My kids are out of the house and no grandchildren yet. I’m just not that motivated.

Everyone has lights on their houses on my court, even the woman next door, who is now in a nursing home. I guess it’s to ward off burglars.  I finally threw up a string of lights around my front door. The neighbors have lights along their roof lines, on bushes, trees, posts, everywhere.

I will have ten people at my Christmas table.  Only my mother will ask where the tree is.  She just moved here from the Midwest. How do I tell her that it’s no fun to go get a tree alone, decorate a tree alone, pack up a tree alone? She will feel sorry for me, and I don’t want that.

Over the years Christmas has become a different holiday for me, sharing my children with an ex, where they want to stay when they fly in for a visit. His house is bigger, his TV bigger, too. I am good with that as long as I get one meal with them each day they’re here. Yes, it’s expensive, but how else can I compete?

The first time my oldest child came to visit her dad and not me, I was crushed. We live ten miles apart. She was in town for an interview and didn’t tell me. I managed to drive her to the airport just so I could talk to her for that 45 minute trip.  Someday she will have children and maybe understand how much that hurt my feelings. Instead of pouting about it, I demanded equal time. Not equal, exactly, but at least she hasn’t done it again.

Holidays are hard for everyone when the ex-spouses can’t be in the same room.  I am okay with it and the live-in girlfriend, too.  He is not.  It’s been eight Christmases. You’d think he’d be over it by now.

I don’t push my kids too much.  They know that Dad hates Mom.  Mom got out when the universe told me to.

I saw a pink artificial tree covered in red lights today at a thrift store.  Although it was a gaudy and awful, I thought about it for half a second.

“Too avant garde for you?” the young male checker asked.

“Too pink,” I said.

“What colors do you like?” he asked.

“You know, traditional green and red,” I said.

“Pink is related to red,” he said.

“Yeah, well . . .”

Still I walked over to see the price. $29.99, but already sold.

Maybe someday I’ll have a tree again, for little ones.

Maybe even a pink one.

You can’t find that outside, not even in California.

Couldda Woulda Diddda

It’s my tenth Christmas in this house. I got a tree since all kids are coming this year (one lives here). It’s Daisy and Pepper’s first tree. It’s up on a table. We’ll see.

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