Oh, Vengeful Tree


Late last week I took down our Christmas tree. A month after Christmas Eve.

That does not eclipse last year’s record. Our 2011 tree (mentioned here) stuck around until Valentine’s Day.

But last year’s Douglas-fir didn’t fling itself to the ground. It didn’t capsize, splashing a gallon of water on our hardwoods.

We didn’t lasso that tree to the curtain rod in the doorway.


However, our most recent Christmas tree swooned within days. And after mopping up the mess, I never replenished its water supply.

My excuse: I wanted to avoid another spill. But secretly I harbored some spite and thought, “We invite you, Tree, into our house… and this is how you repay us? No water for you!”

After a few weeks, though, I felt guilty. Obviously, we’d shortened the tree’s life when we severed the trunk from the roots. But withholding water? I killed the tree twice over. I tortured an innocent evergreen. 

But before exiting our house, the tree exacted revenge.

Late Wednesday night, as I enjoyed a solitary moment of mindless TV… and basked in the twinkly Christmas tree lights… I heard a low, lingering creak. Not the creak from yielding floorboards or of a radiator, sending steam through the pipes.

It was the sound of our sickly-brown Christmas tree, tugging at it moorings.

I hazarded a sideways glance, as if I didn’t want the tree to know that I knew what it was doing. It was plotting another nosedive and judging from its jaunty angle, it would crash into the mantlepiece.

The next day I gave the tree the boot. I plucked off the ornaments and wrestled free the tangled strings of lights.

It would’ve been easier to disarm a cactus. There was no avoiding the brittle, painfully sharp needles. As I gingerly reached through the branches, the needles clung to the boughs, piercing my clothes and skin.

“Ow..ow…ow! Dammit!” I yelled with each grab.

“Dammit, Mommy,” Brynn replied from the other room.

Finally stripped bare, the tree could be ushered out. (A task for Martin.)

There was just one minor casualty. As I nursed my pricked fingers and glared at the naked tree, it discharged a forgotten ornament with a tinkly ring.

One broken heart. Duly noted.