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Christmas trees have always been a big deal to me, and growing up they were a constant source of disappointment.
First of all, my parents never believed in putting up the tree until the weekend before Christmas. REALLY? We were total scrooges until the weekend before Christmas. That just felt like such a cop-out, especially because Mom had her Christmas shopping done long before then.
Then they decided to get environmentally friendly. Instead of chopping down a tree (well, okay, buying one from a Christmas tree lot that had been sawed down by some unknown middleman), they decided to buy a “live” tree. If you’re not familiar with a “live” tree, it’s a normal Christmas tree, but instead of chopping it down, they dig up the root ball with it, so after the holidays you plant the thing instead of dragging a tinsel-covered fire safety violation to the curb, hoping the trash men weren’t being jerks and would actually take it.
The problem with these trees wasn’t that they were supposed to receive new life in my yard. But we went from rocking a beautiful, gorgeous, full-size tree in our living room with a vaulted ceiling to a baby of a tree that wasn’t taller than me. I’m a short person (five-one, if we’re being generous). It just felt like such a let-down.
I hated those little trees so much, I wrote a poem every year called “I Hate Little Christmas Trees” to express my dislike of them. All that earned was the promise for them to do it all again the following year. We did that live tree thing for three years and not a single one survived the transition from living room to our yard. Guess that’s why you’re not supposed to plant trees in December.
After the failed live tree experiment, my parents did the unthinkable.
They. Bought. An. Artificial. Tree.
That was blasphemy. I mean, what kind of crap was that? Especially from my parents who both grew up on a farm. (Not the same one, mind you. We’re not that kind of family.) “But it’s taller,” they told me. Yes, it was bigger, but it was fake, fake, fake. It was almost as bad as if we didn’t even bother putting up a tree.
The poem that year was “I Hate Fake Christmas Trees.”
Fast forward to my life now.
We decorate the house the weekend after Thanksgiving. Because Christmas is my favorite, I love it, and I want the tree to be up as long as possible. I hate Thanksgiving, so I’d probably be okay putting it up right after Halloween, but shhhh, don’t tell my daughter that or it will actually happen. (Why don’t I just do it? With Christmas trees comes Christmas music and I don’t like Christmas music. I’m aware of the irony. I don’t care.)
We actually have four trees in our house.
One in my daughter’s room she decorates however she wants. One in my bedroom that’s decorated with my collection of moose ornaments. The big one in the living room that’s decorated in University of Kentucky colors and ornaments (because December is basketball season, baby). A fourth at the top of the stairs which contains the cluster of personalized ornaments that don’t go with any of the themes.
In perhaps the greatest form of irony ever, all four trees are artificial.
Yes. I jumped on the artificial tree bandwagon. Wait… wait… I have my reasons. One, I wound up hating the smell of pine. (I blame it on those live trees, that reeked of it more than cut trees.) Two, and this is the most important, I have cats. Now, having artificial doesn’t really stop the cats from chewing on my tree, but it slows them down. (Worst of all, this year we only have two of the four up. I can’t handle chasing the five-month-old kitten from tree to tree with a spray bottle. I have things to do, books to write, Christmas presents to shop for.)
I haven’t written a character with a Christmas tree obsession yet, but give it time and it’ll happen. There are subtle hints, though. Destin, in Virtue of Death, has a Christmas birthday. Writing Christmas with that family would definitely be interesting.
Now, twelve years later, Sera’s a successful baker during the day and performs her angelic duties at night. The only thing missing in her life is a man, but the last thing she wants is to fall head over wings in love.
But when a tenacious food critic won’t take a hint, can Sera lower her wings long enough to risk her heart one more time?
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