sap on my fingers

We’ve got our Christmas tree.  Our very first.

The whole house smells delicious.  And my fingers are still wearing a bit of sap.

Regular readers may be surprised that I chose a real tree.  I don’t have a rigid opinion on the whole virulent debate over which is more environmentally sound, buying a real tree or a fake.  Probably those people who manage to be satisfied with bringing in a few dead branches and decorating them in some clever, Martha-Stewart way are the most environmentally kind.  Their moral choices never trouble them one jot, I guess.

Personally, I am swayed by the real tree arguments (more trees get planted, as they grow they act as carbon sinks, they are definitely biodegradable, and no one had to work in a sweat shop to make them) — but I’m well aware that this could have everything to do with the fact that I like having a real tree.

I bet if I was allergic to evergreens the arguments for an artificial tree would suddenly seem so much more reasoned and logical.

Probably the really important thing is to make your choice one you can live with — and do it with gusto.  F. thought I was a little overboard tonight, dancing around the living room and singing along with, “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas.”  But I eventually got him into it, during “Jingle Bell Rock.”  Of course, the mood dampened slightly when we turned to the religious-sounding tunes of a Romanian Christmas celebration.  Almost every single one seemed to dwell on Mary looking for a place to have the baby.  It’s a very focused holiday for them, from what I’ve learned so far.

Americans seem positively scatterbrained, in contrast, and a lot more jolly.  Not only do we have little girls wishing for hippopotamuses, but punky little chipmunks singing, and jazzy ballads that make you want to kiss under the mistletoe immediately, and of course the requisite classic carols and religious hymns.  F. located a version of “Silent Night” sung by caterwauling cats, which made me fizz with laughter (while simultaneously feeling heretical), and then later I found myself trying to explain what reindeer games might be.

Apparently, this mixing of two holiday traditions is not as simple as I’d imagined.  And it extends even to the decorating of the tree.

F.’s used to hanging the holiday ornaments on a tree which is much less full, and hanging them right near the trunk, so that only a few make a strong linear statement.  When he perceived that we had “enough” decorations on the tree, I was just getting warmed up.  I looked at him in confusion, indicating the boxes of Christmas balls still to go.

He said that the tree decorated American style (which I did point out to him is impossible to define) seems very busy to him, but that everything is only on the surface.  We think it must be a different kind of evergreen here than he’s used to seeing, anyway, because you can’t hang much next to the trunk on a healthy spruce.  Not without getting lots more sap on your fingers and burying the ornaments practically out of sight.

A compromise was reached, with the top of the tree decorated more or less to his taste, and the rest more or less to mine.  We both felt just fine about it while sharing a homemade macadamia-nut-and-white-chocolate-chip cookie and a glass of good milk afterwards, staring up at the twinkling lights.

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4 Responses to “sap on my fingers”

  1. Happy first Christmas together! And enjoy those twinkling lights. A real tree smells so good…

  2. I’d love a real tree, but Missy (one of our cats) would love it even more so there’s no debating – artificial all the way!

    It will be interesting to see how you and F. merge and blend traditions until you create something as special and beautiful as your first Christmas tree together.

    • I can sympathize with the Missy situation. Leo knocked over one of our trees a few years ago, and this was when I had wood floors, so lots of glass ornaments exploded everywhere. Mostly he contents himself with drinking out of the tree basin now, so that we have to check it every single day… sigh.

      Yes, I think it will be a long process. But it is fascinating. I learn something new about him and his culture every single day, it seems 🙂

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