First of all, let’s just clear the air. Yes, it’s January 17th. Yes, I’m just taking down my Christmas tree today. The only thing I can say in my defense is that it was a week into February before I took my last Christmas tree down. Improvement!

As a child, I only remember my family putting up an artificial Christmas tree. I am not sure if we ever had a real tree. If so, it must have been before I had a working memory. The arrangement was simple: Dad pulled the tree out of the attic. Dad assembled it. Dad fluffed the fake limbs. Dad put the lights on the tree. Then Dad got a mug of eggnog and watched while Mom, Sis, and I put the decorations on. For a long time, we had a hodgepodge of ornaments (homemade, handed down, gifted, etc…) and garland. We each had our special ornaments we liked to put on the tree. As we got older and Mom’s (at best, just a hyperbole for the sake of my story and at worst, pretty mild) OCD kicked in, she switched it up on us and bought all new ornaments in white, gold, and silver. It would take a whole post to get into her request that we all now wrap our gifts in those same colors so they look pretty under the tree. That aside, we maintained the artificial Christmas tree tradition.

As an adult living in my own home, I’ve put up a Christmas tree exactly three times. Considering I’ve been out of my parents house for almost ten years, this is not a very impressive number. The first two times, I had real trees. They were lovely. The one I put up two years ago was crooked for the majority of the holidays, but that didn’t bother me. When I finally took it down (in February), it made a mess of dead needles, but I just hauled that sucker right out to the street and the garbage guys picked it up the next day. End of story.

This year, my parents donated their old artificial tree to me. I was so excited! And I do appreciate it. It’s a pretty tree and a breeze to put together. My Fella and I had it up and decorated in a matter of a couple of hours, and that’s with him skipping a few steps and moving straight on to the eggnog/watching part after the tree was standing.

Here’s the thing though, and one of the reasons it’s taken me so long to get it taken down this year. The floored storage area in my attic is about the size of an open pizza box, and it previously held my small collection of ornaments that, this morning, still hung in the tree. I do not have a home for this tree. I considered leaving it up year round and being one of those people who decorate a tree for every major holiday (and, now that I think about it, my Christmas ornaments lend themselves well to a Mardi Gras theme, I should have just left it up and saved myself some trouble…), but the idea of a Halloween tree made me feel like an old, lonely cat lady already. My other options included:

  • Forgetting it was artificial and leaving it on the street for the garbage guys/people who love to shop from the things I leave on the street — I’m not kidding…
  • Hiding the separate pieces of the tree in each of my closets…
  • Storing it in the trunk of my car…
  • Or finding a weather proof container to store it in my garage instead of the canvas bag it came to me in.

Luckily, I had an extremely large container that I figured would do the trick out in my garage already, so when I got all set to start the project at hand this afternoon, I went outside to gather it.

Side story: It is seriously VERY cold outside today. I think my reaction to the cold had something to do with the fact that it’s been 70 degrees out for weeks, winter be damned. But the weather shifted and darn if it wasn’t SNOWING when I went out to the garage in a tank top and flip flops. I retrieved the giant plastic tub, plus two slightly less giant tubs to store my ornaments in, thinking I might could use the attic space for something else if all the Christmas stuff made it to the garage. Only problem, they were disgusting. I mean, GROSS. Covered in dirt, spider webs, spider remains, spider EGG SACS (you know how I feel about spiders from the previous post), and other assorted bits of detritus. I hauled them over to my covered patio, praying that I would be able to both endure the cold and the threat of a spider attack. Those tubs were NOT going inside my home in that condition. So I went inside and dressed slightly more appropriately and set to work cleaning the darn things, basically out in the snow. It took awhile and my hands were numb for some time afterward, but with the three tubs clean and inside my house, I was ready to start work on the tree itself.

The next hour was a breeze. I packed up ornaments like a pro. I wound up lights. I smushed the branches and limbs into a more compact creature. The top piece is tiny, no problem. In the giant tub. The middle piece had me a little worried, it was rather massive, but I decided not to worry and instead plow forward. When I saw the length of the bottom piece, I knew my tub was not even CLOSE to being giant enough. FINE. Fine fine fine… I decided it would just have to go back in the canvas bag and into the attic, hanging over the edges as it might end up, and the ornaments could be out in the garage instead.

Only, these pieces are a little awkward to mess with, and shoving them inside a bag is not as easy as it may sound. I knew something was wrong after I put in the first piece. The zipper made a weird noise. But I ignored it. I got the whole tree inside that bag and went to zip it in and, as I’d feared, the zipper was entirely non-functional. Not stuck, but the bits of zipper both above and below the pull were wide the eff open. I know of no way to remedy this issue. And let me tell you, that bag is not going into my attic without being hermetically sealed or I’m not touching it next year.

So I sat down to ponder my options, and I’ll tell you, I was cussing. Not a happy LizHarrell. Here is what I came up with:

  • Give it back to my parents…
  • Put it on the street for some other lucky owner/garbage man…
  • Plant it in my yard and hope no one notices…
  • Toss it in the garage and let the spiders do as they please…
  • Write a blog post about it and wait for my Fella to come and fix it for me.

Best idea I’ve had all day.

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