Monday, December 12, 2005


Friday afternoon, I went to mom's house.

We had been plotting to cut down trees the next day. It was to be quite the undertaking, what with having to go pick up dad's truck at his store (in Chicago) then drive all the way to the tree farm we like (about two hours from Chicago). Enough effort to elicit an "ugh" under the rosiest of circumstances, but with dad in the hospital and the holidays drawing ever-nearer, it was too much to contemplate.

This year, of all years, is the year it makes sense to buy a fake tree.

Mom agreed. "But they look so fake," she said. Au contraire, I said. Great strides have been made in the arena of artificial evergreens and firs.

We started at Target. Fake, fake, fake. Blech.

Home Depot. Fake, fake, fake. But I *was* momentarily transfixed by the inflated igloo with the penguin popping out the top. It was kinda eerie. Like a levitating penguin. The David Copperfields of penguins. Right. Anyway. Next?

Hobby Lobby. Less fake, but way more expensive. Mom is hoping that she finds herself with her fake-tree need for this season alone, and was understandably reluctant to shell out the big cheddar for a not-so-cheesy tree.

Back to the car, where we cursed the weather to help us get warm. Winter has arrived extra early in Chicago.

We were tired, but not downtrodden. Meijers? Yes, Meijers, we agreed. So off to Meijers.

Ding, ding, ding! Fab fake tree, much like the ones I cut down every year. And on sale. Rock. On.

We each grabbed a big box and dragged them behind us through the store to buy them. Heaved them into carts, rolled them out to my car, slid them into the back seat, and toted them home.

Mom helped me schlep mine into the house, then we went to her house where we uncrated hers. I read the directions and warnings, of which there were plenty. We hardly needed them. There have indeed been great advances in fake treeology. Stick the sections together, fold down the branches, bend the sub-branches into the desired shape, plug in, and voila!

Insta-Christmas! Just add ornaments.

So we did. And hung the stockings by the chimney with care. So if nothing else happens in mom's house with decorations, she's hit the high points.

Christmas. In a box. Forty percent off.


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