I am one of those annoying individuals who thinks a tree in my house at Christmas, just HAS to be a real pine tree. Trees have their way of seeking revenge against people like me though.
I do it because I love the smell. As a child, I sat under the tree and played with the wise men, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, camels, angels, and sheep, while inhaling that glorious smell of pine. I had to inhale as much of the tree as I could because we never had them for long.
My dad hated them and would wait until Christmas Eve, then send my brothers to the tree lot with five bucks and tell them to buy the cheapest tree they could find. (In retrospect, this explains a lot about our trees. For proof, look to your left, or see my blog post, A Series of Unfortunate Trees. )And by early January, our tree was gone.
But that tree meant Christmas to me. I love that pine smell so much that each year I put myself through the torment of selecting a “real” tree, (this can take hours – not including haggling) then asking for leftover branches so I can decorate every uncovered inch of my home.
This annual decision comes back to haunt me every January. After waiting until the last minute to take it down, I drag the tree out by its stump as it winks at me saying, “I’ve left you a little something.” Then its minions get to work playing hide and seek in every corner of my house.
Even when I think I’ll be smart and buy the giant plastic bag to wrap the tree in, a few always escape. No matter how thoroughly I vacuum, one somehow always magically appears. I Swiffer, and just when I think I’ve gotten in my last swipe, boom! I find another, sometimes several.
They’re crafty. Sometimes they use camouflage to hide among the pillows of my sage green couch. Other times, I’ll kneel down to pick up something I’ve dropped, and see two or three slouching on the hardwood floor, plotting. If they could, they’d be smoking cigarettes.
I’m sure that attributing nefarious intentions to inanimate objects is a sure sign of insanity. Blogging about it definitely takes it to the next level.
But come July, my whole attitude changes. When I find a pine needle in the summer, I pick it up, look at it longingly and remember those chilly December nights when it was actually cold enough to bundle up with blankets and revel in that piney aroma.
Those pine needle stragglers become sweet reminders of a lovely holiday. I pick them up, break them in half, inhale what’s left of their pine fragrance and go back to being a kid, playing under the tree — completely forgetting that the tree always gets the last laugh.