The Spirited Gardener (Christmas)

The Spirited Gardener

By Sandy Wieber

I have a problem. I am addicted to Christmas trees.

I mean, I don’t drink their sap or anything weird. I just buy them and put them up.

I can’t find a 12-step program for it, or any kind of support group. In fact, my family seems to encourage my addiction by giving me ornaments for holidays, and asking me how many trees I’ve put up so far.

Like it’s so funny when I say “twelve”.

For the record, I only have two “big” trees, one in the dining room and one in the living room. The dining room tree is all decorated in old ornaments, all from the 50’s and 60’s. I’ve picked them up from antique stores for years so it is really packed. Sometimes, I’ll have four or five ornaments on a single branch (this is an artificial tree; a live one would never cut it; I’d have broken ornaments all over the floor. And if that sounds like experience talking, it is!)

The tree in the living room is decorated with china ornaments, all of them painted by my mother when she was younger. She painted the year on the back of each one, too, and it’s fun to say “I got this when I was eight” and “She gave me this one the first year I was married.” Once I was married, I got two a year, so this tree is pretty full, too. I mean, it’s way too full to combine it with the tree in the dining room, so don’t even suggest it.

Of course, I have a tabletop tree in my bedroom, and it’s decorated with old ornaments from my late grandmother (what else was I going to do with them? Hang them on one of the other trees? As if.) I also have a “centennial tree” in a guest bedroom, decorated with flags and Victorian-looking ornaments, just like trees from 1876, our country’s first centennial. After all, Christmas trees really took off during the Victorian era, it seems like we should give them some kind of nod of thanks, shouldn’t we?

(If, by this point in the article, you are starting to think that maybe you should have a couple of trees too, then I’ve done my job and spread the affliction. If not, read on…)

I have some super small trees, too…but I hardly think they count, although my family includes them in the annual inventory. These small ones include a couple feather trees, each decorated with a different theme—all flowers on one, tiny kitchen utensils and mini yellow ware bowls on another, gardening tools on a third. In fact, I’m thinking about adding a new one this year: a beachy, fish-themed tree to help me get through the long months of snow and otherwise non-beach-appropriate weather. I’ll probably pick up a couple of ornaments after the holidays when they go on sale (hey, I may be sick, but I’m still thrifty).

If you’re planning on decorating your own tree in the next few weeks, consider this: what are you going to put on top of that little side table? Don’t you think that a small tree would be nice there?

That’s how it starts, my friends. Enjoy the holidays, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!