Guest Blog: Oh, Christmas Tree

While I'm off enjoying vacation time I have a few guest bloggers lined up to share their Christmas themed posts with you. Next up, Lauren of Becoming Vanderburg. She and her husband moved out to Denver shortly after we did to help out with our church plant. Enjoy her post! 

Hey Glowing Light readers! This is Lauren, another crazy one who moved to cross-country to Denver this year with the Acevedos and the Summit. Since Kristel’s soaking up the sunshine and warmth of South Florida, I’m sharing a few thoughts on Christmas.

During our move from North Carolina, there was much that got tossed. One thing that did not was our Christmas tree stand. I grew up in Central Florida, and I remember my parents using this particular stand year after year to hold a live tree. Being that we lived in a warm climate, my family clung to feelings of “a traditional Christmas,” including a live tree. Thus – the stand. This particular stand held a wonderfully pine-scented, living tree by clamping the trunk in a red, metal bowl. It was held up by three green legs that screwed into the trunk. You know the kind, right? When my family moved from Florida to Tennessee, the stand went with. Dad’s traditional yells, foul language and general discontent about the stand also made it to Tennessee. Yet, we persisted. Christmas traditions, right? ;)

After college, when I moved out on my own, my parents “gifted” me with that Christmas tree stand so I could have a tree of my own in my apartment. For four years in North Carolina, the stand served me well with no fuss or muss. Why wouldn’t we take it to Colorado with us?

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. My husband, knowing my Christmas tradition of a live tree, took me to pick one out the Saturday after Thanksgiving. At 11:30 at night. That’s when The Christmas Tree Debacle of 2011 began.

1st mistake: Picking out a tree after normal tree-hours from a grocery store. None of the workers there knew how to re-bundle a tree after looking at it, so we just chose a tree that was still tied up and prayed it would work. It didn’t.

2nd mistake: Not bringing the stand with us to see if the tree would fit in it. It wouldn’t.

3rd mistake: Spending hours on Sunday afternoon sawing the trunk to try and fit it into the stand. We wanted to use the few daylight hours left of the weekend, so sandwiched between family leaving and going to church, we began to work on that Christmas tree.

Once we realized the trunk was too fat to fit in the stand, we began sawing off portions to wedge it into the stand. For 2 hours, I laid across the tree, which was laid across our deck furniture, holding it steady while Adrian sawed and sawed and sawed. Four big chunks made the trunk small enough, and after much ado – it was time.

4th mistake: We screwed the tree into the stand. Technically, we screwed two screws, and drove a long nail into the third leg, since we realized too late we had lost a screw in the move. That proved to be a costly mistake.

It wasn’t until after we had moved the tree inside and set it upright in the stand that we realized all the sawing had made the trunk lopsided. The tree wouldn’t stay up. Even tied up and leaning against the wall, there was no hope. Once again, we drug it outside to the deck to remove the tree from the stand and rectify the situation. Unfortunately, the 6-inch long nail didn’t come out from the trunk as easily as the two screws did. We wiggled and pried and tried our darndest. No use. Tree and stand were stuck together like dogs after mating (that’s for you, Kristel ;) So, Adrian spent another hour sawing off the bottom of the trunk (and the stand that was rigidly attached to it).

5th mistake: Repeating the third mistake. After much pounding and prying, we finally separated the stand from the lopsided part of the trunk. After church on Sunday, and after daylight was long gone, we were back on the deck – respectively holding the tree steady and sawing the trunk to make it small enough for the stand again.

6th mistake: Using three nails to hold the trunk and stand together. Since we had bent the legs prying the trunk and stand apart earlier, we figured three nails would work better than two screws and a nail. We were, once again, wrong.

7th mistake: Taking the tree (still bundled up) back inside the apartment.

8th mistake: Thinking if we just untied the tree maybe it would balance itself and would stand upright. It didn’t.

After literally hours upon hours spent sawing and wedging and prying that dang tree into that dang stand – it still wouldn’t cooperate. At some point in hour 4 or so, I heard that same Christmas tree stand elicit the same kind of language from my husband as it had from my father. Ah, traditions. Unlike my traditional family Christmas experience though – we admitted defeat in the VanderHouse. There was no way that tree was going to work with that stand. It just wouldn’t.

Tuesday night, Adrian once again picked up the tree and moved it to the deck. He once again sawed the trunk off to separate it from the stand. He once again pried the nails out of the sawed-off trunk. We threw the tree into the bed of our truck and, after all of it – we returned the tree to the store. We threw away the severely mangled Christmas tree stand that had been in my family for years. We got a new, smaller Christmas tree and we found a new, sturdier stand at the store. We tested the tree in the stand before we ever left the parking lot, and once we knew it would stand upright – we brought it all home. No sawing required.

I’m thankful to tell you we have been enjoying our fully-functional Christmas tree for a couple of weeks now. We’ve also kept part of the old tree – one of the many 5-inch sections of the sawed-off trunk – as a reminder. It’s sitting on our counter, nail still sticking out of it, and I’m reminded that sometimes – a square trunk won’t fit into a round hole, no matter how many ways you slice it.