December 1, 2010

The Wee Tree

Every year Will and I flip back and forth over what size tree we want. Since we have pretty much always lived in small houses, we have often chosen smaller trees. Table top size trees have made several appearances, especially when the kids were little. Out of reach meant that we didn't have to worry as much about the ornaments and little fingers that might get them. But then again, oh I love a big beautiful tree. There is just something magical about them. Some day I'd like to live in a big old Victorian with a bay window just made for a huge Christmas tree. But until then, we go back and forth between a practical little tree and a too big for the house but lovely large tree. This year, after remembering how crowded last December was and how quickly our tree dried out to dust because it was up against a heater vent, we went small. And since we were doing a small tree and we need some more shrubs in the yard, we bought a potted tree with the hopes that it will make it through the month inside and then through the rest of the winter on the deck so we can plant it. Finger's crossed.
It's a little bit of a Charlie Brown tree. But as Will told Briton, if we didn't take it, it might not have been bought and no one would have loved it. Plus, as long as it sits in the corner so the big gap in the back is hidden, it's basically tree shaped. And just right for our little house.
This is not our first attempt with a potted tree. When we lived in Dublin, Briton and I met Will after work and walked to a tree lot he had found at lunch where we picked out a little potted tree that would fit in our (very very very small - 300 square feet!) apartment. Then we tried to carry it home. And what had been a decent walk at 5 pm turned out to be a long, cold and very very wet walk home in the winter darkness at 6:30. It didn't help that Will was wheeling his bike and I was trying to carry a very tired two-year-old Briton. After about a mile of switching what hand and hip the tree perched on, trading bikes for boys between us and even attempting to balance the tree on the seat of the bike to lighten our load. We decided to try something radical. The idea was that we would temporarily un-pot the tree so that Will could put it over his shoulder and ride home (one handed) while Briton and I took the pot and most of the soil home in a cab, if we could find a cab on a random residential street in the middle of rush hour.

Eventually we did find a cab and un-potted the tree, only to find that it was not, in fact, a potted tree. It was just a tree that they had jammed into a pot with rocks covered in potting soil. Little sneaks! If we hadn't, at that point, been freezing and starving and exhausted, I would have marched back to the tree yard and told the guy off. But as it was, I climbed into the cab with the pot on my lap and Briton dozing in the seat next to us and went home. And ten minutes after we arrived (and had our favorite Indian food on the way) We spotted Will riding down the street, decked out in rain gear and holding a four foot tall tree over his shoulder like a giant sack of potatoes, or maybe presents, although he didn't have nearly enough padding to be a Santa.
Bringing home this year's tree wasn't nearly as fraught. Although it did require some convincing of Briton who wanted a much smaller (and frankly wonkier) tree because he thought we could put it in their room (more on that later). But eventually he was talked into it and after a few days of acclimating in the mudroom, its settled into it's above-the-heater-vent spot and has been decorated with our favorite ornaments. And now, it feels like Christmas.