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Merry Freakin’ Christmas

November 29, 2011

Essays for Giggles, Holiday Stories

Not our actual tree!

 Most people deck the halls with boughs of holly.  At my house, my husband and I come close to decking each other.  My husband, through no fault of his own, is Bosnian.  This means he is hard-headed.  Literally, his head is like a solid chunk of concrete.

This also means that as a child in Bosnia, he has no tradition of celebrating Christmas.  He has no fond memories of twinkling tree lights glowing softly in a darkened living room or the near rapture of waking Christmas morning to a stocking full of tiny treasures.

I am all about a secular holiday.  This is not a religious bone of contention between us, but rather one of differing aesthetic values and individual tolerance for hanging by one arm from a shaky gutter trying to staple gun a Christmas light wire without puncturing through the protective plastic coating and electrocuting yourself.

It all started with the hanging of the outdoor lights.  Last year, he refused to hang my new icicle lights, bought on clearance two years earlier, and never taken out of the box.  I was not going to let him get away with that again.  I insisted that we were decorating the house like a North Pole Elf’s cottage or we would die trying.

A couple of hours later, and a lot of language that I cannot repeat here, and he concluded that his job was now complete at a satisfactory level of “good enough” and went back to watching Saturday Soccer (as opposed to soccer every other day of the flippin’ week).

“Good enough” is not good enough for Martha Stewart and it is not good enough for me.  I spent the next hour conquering my fear of heights by inching up and down a wobbly ladder, being ripped apart by thorny shrubbery, and straining delicate neck and shoulder muscles in an attempt to stretch the last THREE feet of lights to cover the last FIVE feet of rooftop.

THEN, the next day, we nearly had a domestic violence incident over the tree.  There are “real” tree people and “fake” tree people, and I will go totally tree-less before an artificial one ever darkens my door.

We have been married for 10 years and we were together 3 years before that, which means we have had the “Battle of the Christmas Tree” for 13 years now.  I always win and always will, but that doesn’t mean that I am immune to the holiday spirit being violently sucked out of tree-decorating day.

Years ago, my husband tried to claim that it was “cruel” to the tree to kill it for a holiday decoration.  This from a man who eats lambs, goats and anything else he can chase down in the barnyard.  I didn’t buy his compassion-for-the-tree bit.  THEN he tried the whole “green” angle by telling me how horrible it was to cut trees for Christmas.  Seriously thinking he did not know any better, I told him that these trees were grown on farms for the sole purpose of being Christmas Trees.  I was not depopulating a forest, for God’s sake.

I also showed him an article once that said that artificial trees were harder on the environment.  At least my tree could be recycled and would never claim valuable space in a landfill, but these reasonable talking points did nothing to dissuade him.  He was sticking to his concrete-headed guns, as if I did not know that it was really because of the amount of work involved in getting a real tree home and in the stand.  And I am not asking him to lumberjack one out of a dark and dangerous forest.  I am asking him to drive to Lowes where he is assisted in loading the tree by a helpful employee.

This year was particularly difficult.  The (undecorated) tree fell three times.  Copious amounts of water flowed over our hardwood floors.  We had to lay the tree down and saw off so many lower branches that the tree now looked like the opossum equivalent of road-kill.  Swear words in two languages were hurled at the tree and each other.  I wish I could describe the noise he was making as he tightened the screws in the tree stand.  It was somewhere between the mewing of a kitten and the whimpering of a little girl.

But, It was done!  The tree was up.  It was beautiful and the house was fragrant with the scent of fir.

He says that he refuses to put up a tree ever again.  He also refused to water the current one.

He says the tree is now my sole responsibility.  On the off-chance, that like childbirth, the pain of this incident does not fade enough for him by next year to enable me to con him into it again, then I have already decided that I will hire a handyman for the holiday decorating.   He, I’m sure, will be watching soccer on TV.

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About reneadijab

Renea Dijab

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9 Comments on “Merry Freakin’ Christmas”

  1. Bob Hickman Says:

    Loved the story. I knew there was a reason I’ve loved you all these years—your humor and your appreciation for, and manipulation of, words!
    Oh, and if you ever get fed up with your handsome, swarthy Bosnian—send him my way!

    Reply

  2. Tammy Says:

    My Bosnian husband went motorcycle riding while the girls and I decorated for Christmas. I learned years ago that we would all be merrier if he leaves the house for these activities. He does at least carry the boxes of decorations down from the attic before he flees the house. This is all I can ask.

    Reply

    • reneadijab Says:

      I passed two tree lots today that said they deliver AND install. I am sure it costs double and I do not care. I will be joining you next year in my solitary decorating with my child.

      Reply

  3. Sherry Says:

    Gotta love the joy of Christmas decorations………but once you get past the assembly faze you get to enjoy the beauty of it all until………………..it’s time to take it all down, now that’s going to be fun also! Love your stories

    Reply

  4. Summer Says:

    I can’t wait to see your house, I’ll make a point to walk or drive by tonight! The more stories I heard from womenkind… the more I am convinced we are all dating/married to/cohabiting with the same man! and now I wonder if mine is also Bosnian?! all this time I thought his mother had done me a GREAT injustice by spoiling her only child then leaving me to re-train him!

    Reply

    • reneadijab Says:

      I have been getting a lot of support on my husband “issue” lately. Interesting thought that they are all the same man… if this were a science fiction novel… I will try to have the lights on tonight…

      Reply

  5. Duana Says:

    Renea,
    This one is my favorite thus far…I’ve not read a blog that I enjoy more! Lmbo…
    Btw, I’m a “real tree” person too!

    Reply

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