Weekend Wanderer: Getting ‘Stuck’ with a Christmas Tree


So I never got to my butchered Christmas tree last week. I have a word limit. Not a self-imposed word limit – my husband’s grandfather once told me I talk too much. His other grandfather also told me I talk too much.

My word limit is editor-imposed. I’m pretty sure no matter how awesome I think I am, I’m not allowed to use all the words in this space. My editors might agree with those grandfathers.

So I’ll start this week by asking this: When do you guys take down your Christmas tree?

I’m a January second girl. I think it’s depressing to keep decorations up once the kids roll back to school. It’s sort of like stalking old boyfriends on Facebook.

Which I guess, like leaving Christmas decorations up, can sometimes be satisfying because you’re not fooling anybody with that car, dude. We all know you’re not twenty-five. If for no other reason than you’re on Facebook.

Ugh. But it also feels awful. Nobody feels good looking at their Christmas tree in February, and nobody feels good stalking exes. Especially when you have a really sweet husband who drives an age-appropriate SUV that only sometimes has a dead deer in the back.

Wow. I do talk too much.

Anyway, we get a live Christmas tree, chopped down with our own hands. Our tree was lovely. It was tall and wide. Green and lush.

But by Christmas Day, our tree was looking like an oversized version of Charlie Brown’s tree. I decided to take it down early.

The kids and I stripped the tree of its lights and garlands, icicles, and ornaments. Then we tipped the tree over, removed the stand, and slid it toward the front door.

My oldest walked behind me, holding the door open as my son wrangled our dog, keeping him from jumping into the grave with the Christmas tree. With my husband at work, I alone navigated the tree.

It wasn’t pretty.

My inadequate arborist skills shook loose enough needles to give the floor a green carpet. Water from the stump congealed in the needles. Missed ornaments tinkled deep within the recesses of the tree.

The Philadelphia Inquirer says I could have donated my tree to make wood chips. Well, I made a pine needle rug. Less practical, more interesting.

I discovered the tree was too wide to fit through the front door when it got stuck.

I mean, stuck.

I rocked my full body weight against the gooey stump to dislodge the tree. My bare hands came away covered in a slimy tree sap/ water mix that kind of smelled.

I’ll entertain the possibility my dog peed on the tree another day.

“Um, are we STUCK out here?” my 16-year-old asked, in that subtle, you’re-so-dumb-but-I’m-not-really-calling-you-dumb way wonderfully unique to teenagers.

“Yes,” called my 13-year-old from the house, because what sibling can resist the opportunity for torment?

As my Inside Kid swept pine needles, my Outside Kid and I pondered our next move.

We decided I should saw off some branches, thus narrowing the tree to fit through the door.

I fetched my husband’s saw from the garage.

This is when I learned I don’t know how to use a saw.

When I thought about it, I realized I’d never used a saw. I also realized I’m kind of spoiled. And mechanically challenged. How hard can it be to use a saw?

I went back to the garage for hedge clippers.

I clipped tree branches, tossing them behind me. I told Outside Kid to haul them to the curb.

“On it,” Outside Kid called, arms loaded with pine boughs.

“Maybe we should get a fake tree next year,” Inside Kid called out.

“No!” I cried, because I’d read this article about a fake Christmas tree with a poisonous snake in its branches.

That led me to another article about an eighteen-foot-long snake on the roof of a building in Detroit. Which led me to an article about a snake in baggage claim. Which led me to an article about a snake on a doorbell camera.

So no fake Christmas trees, trips to Detroit, airports, or security cameras for me. I mean, what am I? Steve Irwin?

Thirty minutes of working those hedge clippers yielded a tree narrow enough to fit through the door.

“Finally,” Inside Kid said when Outside Kid and I appeared. He was eating Christmas cookies as he chilled on the sofa.

The old sofa, of course.

So that is my Christmas tree saga. I don’t know if a year that ends with a Christmas tree wedged in my door, an old sofa refusing eviction, and Betty White dying means all the bad stuff is behind or looming ahead.

Either way, I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say about it.