One holiday is over and there are only two left for this holiday season. Thanksgiving was nice. The turkey was wonderful and the children were well behaved. I meant to take pictures but never actually got around to it. I love the holidays and especially entertaining in my home because it forces me to clean every nook and cranny of the house. At least the first floor. I put out the nice table cloth, candles, I even spent a day polishing the silver. My carpel tunnel is acting up but the table looked marvelous.

Friday is the day we get the tree. When I was a kid my father refused to be one of those families who puts the tree up the day after Thanksgiving. He would usually insist that we wait until the week before to get the tree and trim it. He grew up in a family where the tree was trimmed on Christmas Eve, as if Santa brought the tree all trimmed with him. Dad would have done that but that would have meant that he and my mother would have to stay up all night decorating the tree while my brother and I slept. What was the point of having children if you couldn’t make them decorate the tree? They usually spent that time furiously wrapping gifts in brown paper grocery bags and drinking Tom and Jerrys.

I loved decorating the house for Christmas as a child. I found an old fake tree that my father had used in his office during the holidays. It was shoved in the back of the storage area of our attic and I pulled it out and put some lights and ornaments on it. I kept it up in the attic which was where my brother and my rooms were so I could look at it late at night. When Christmas was over I simply shoved it back into the storage unit, ornaments and all. My father always found this extremely entertaining and told the story of my stored Christmas tree year after year. I never understood what was so funny, it seemed rather practical and time saving to me.

We always had fresh trees. Usually we purchased them at the old car dealership lot not far from our house. The Boy Scouts would sell trees there every year and they were pretty good trees. One year my aunt decided we were all going to go out to a tree farm and cut our trees down. Grandma and Grandpa, both aunts and their husbands and children and my parents and my brother and I all went down to Hastings to find the perfect tree. It was cold and snowing…bitterly cold, windy and overcast. Dad hunted for the perfect tree while mom waited in the warm car. I found several trees that seemed just as good as the ones from the Boy Scouts but they wouldn’t do for dad. He wanted a grand tree, the tree of all trees. The tree that we would all remember as the best tree for the best Christmas ever. It seemed as if we looked for hours. My brother and I were both tired and cold and ready to go home without a tree if necessary. We just wanted back in the car.

I had had enough. I was a good girl. I was not the kind of little girl who said naughty things. I had had my mouth washed out with soap a few years back and remembered it vividly. I was also well aware that Santa was paying attention to my deeds. But I couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Can you just pick out a god damn tree so we can go home?” I asked my father.

He stood there in silence. He was stunned. I had never uttered those words before even though I heard them all the time. I had never asserted myself before either. He chose the tree nearest to him and told my brother to start cutting it down. Once it was paid for and tied to the roof of the car we were all allowed to get back into the car and go home.

I was never punished for my foul mouth that day. Santa still brought me the Barbie Townhouse I so desperately wanted. This did however bump the story of my trimmed tree stashing and was told every holiday, which I suppose is a far worse punishment. And dad got the tree we all remembered.