Tag Archives: Christmas tree

Keepable Resolutions 2019

Ah, resolutions. As in shaping up. Getting a grip.

You gotta love ’em.

No, you don’t. I don’t, either.

I used to procrastinate, thinking long and deep about resolutions, researching, editing, and reediting. My well-honed list didn’t emerge until February. I ate junk food, remained a couch potato, and avoided being nice a whole extra month.

Recently, though, I discovered a new, improved resolution-making method that reduces procrastination, yet prevents the root-canal effect of good behavior. My secret? I make only resolutions I can keep.

Simple. Profound. Why didn’t Einstein or some other genius with funny hair discover this?

I’m already hard at work, keeping my 2019 list.

In household matters:

  • I resolve not to embrace the latest décor: skinny sofas with all the cushy comfort of park benches and chairs designed by those who hate vertebrates. My outdated sofa will continue to encourage naps instead of body casts.
  • I also resolve not to rearrange my current furniture. My heart couldn’t take moving it. Or, seeing what’s under it.
  • I will resist the temptation to make our bread from scratch. Admittedly, I used to do this. But we must shed past follies, right?

In transportation matters:

  • No white car of mine shall remain white.
  • I will never take a flight to see my dad in Louisiana that doesn’t include a stop in Fargo, North Dakota.

In sports matters:

  • I promise to cheer against the New England Patriots forever, even if they move to the Midwest.
  • I promise to cheer the Kentucky Wildcats only if they move away from the Midwest.

In marriage and family matters:

  • Even in January, I will crack my bedroom window for fresh air. An added plus: I like sleeping with a giant burrito.
  • I resolve to freak out as my only granddaughter blossoms. Two freaked-out parents aren’t enough to supply the embarrassment levels every teen needs.

In miscellaneous matters:

  • I promise not to pay perfectly good money to die on Six Flags Great Adventure’s Kingda Ka, the tallest roller coaster in the world.
  • I will waste time viewing sunrises and sunsets.
  • I promise to sing along with raindrop music, and
  • I will click the TV remote when Victoria’s Secret ads appear.

Finally, in post-holiday matters:

I won’t take down my Christmas tree until I’m good and ready. Between Advent celebrations and a January 1 book deadline, I’ve taken little time to enjoy it. Besides, snow deserted Indiana this year. True Christmas tree appreciation requires snowflakes dancing outside my window. So, I’ll cradle my steaming holly mug, with carols playing and tree glowing, until my snow-goal is met.

Not that I’m procrastinating, or anything.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What keepable New Year’s resolutions will you make for 2019?

A Perfect Christmas Tree?

christmas_tree_afterAsk a thousand people to describe what makes a perfect Christmas tree.

You’ll receive 996 rapturous — and opinionated — answers.

What about the other four? A few Christmas-tree-impaired people don’t get it. My father, who loved trees, saw no sense in chopping down an evergreen, hauling it inside, and decorating it with expensive baubles.

Fortunately, Mom overruled him. Because of Dad’s reluctance to contribute, though, we celebrated with a tree that looked as if it had been mugged by a Grinchy weedeater. But Mom filled our tree’s gaps with strategic placement of greeting cards. We decorated with our scanty string of big-bulb lights, the ornaments we and our pets hadn’t yet broken, plus glittery Sunday school paper bells and stars. We draped random garlands of popcorn and, as a finishing touch, tossed on wads of shiny icicles. Finally, we gathered outside the picture window, shivering and marveling at the most perfect tree in the world.    

My husband makes great tree choices. While flexible, he insists upon one stipulation: the tree’s trunk must be straight, as in a perfect ninety-degree angle to the ground. No leaning, even if it’s a little tired of the holidays.

With my background, I am not choosy. I always allowed Steve and the children to select our tree. If it appeared undernourished, we dangled extra ornaments and strategically placed large greeting cards á la Grandma. If its lower layers stuck out too much, I sympathized, as mine tend to do that around Christmas, too.

I only ask that the tree look fresh and green. No yellow needles. And they must cling to the branches like a scared-of-Santa toddler to his mommy. Please, no needles scattered abroad, their prickly presence lodged forever in my socks, sweaters and undies.  

Although we miss the kids, our empty nest simplifies the selection process. Steve, measuring trunk angles with a protractor, will get his Christmas tree wish. I, giving each one the super-shake test, will, too. We’ll haul home a fresh, green tree with a straight trunk.

So far, we’ve never found a flawless one. But that makes sense. Advent is all about God’s coming because we — and our world — are flawed. A Christmas tree reminds us what He can do with imperfection.    

After we’ve decorated our tree, I will drag Steve outdoors by the picture window and force him to enjoy the view.

“It’s straight,” he’ll say proudly.

“Yes, isn’t it?” I’ll answer. We’ll hold each other close in the darkness, shivering with delight.

No, our tree is not perfect. But it’s the most beautiful tree in the world.       

What’s your “Charlie Brown tree” story?