Christmas Tree Dilemma Resolved, Almost, by Rich Paschall

Sometimes you don’t have the energy to assist a mate on a household project. You may be tired from your own projects and duties and don’t want to pitch in. We all have these feelings. You would just rather find a quiet place and rest. It’s understandable. We can’t be charged up and ready to go all the time.

Partnerships are like this. You have your tasks, and I have mine, and then there are those unclaimed tasks. Who will do it? Will you do it? Shall I do it? Shall we do it together? Negotiation is the key.

There are those negotiations that are a trap, however. Remember now that I am giving you fair warning. They may seem innocent enough, but you will soon realize that negotiation was unnecessary and the decision was already made. The “negotiation” or “discussion” is just meant to draw you in so the conniving mate can pounce. You may have read this pre-Christmas discussion before:

“When are you going to put up the tree?”

“You can put it up.”

“You put it up every year.”

“Then you should do it.”

This is the place to stop and walk away. The crafty mate does not really want you to put up the tree. He wants you to AGREE to put up the tree or to assist in putting up the tree. The point is your acquiescence, not your assistance. As soon you agree, the scheming mate has won the battle. You have lost.

Next in the conversation would likely be the following.

“Nevermind, I will do it,” with a tinge of martyrdom in his voice.

“I said I would do it.”

“No, that’s all right, I will do it,” with WAY more than a tinge of martyrdom.

“Then I can help!” You have now fallen into trap number two. You did not get out while the getting was good, as my father might have said.

“NO, I will do it all by myself,” stated with a sigh and the realization that such martyrdom will lead to sainthood. In fact, never has there been such a martyr since Joan of Arc.

Grandma Kraus’ old tree decorations

“Ok, I will get the ornaments out of the closet.” You have still not learned your lesson.

“Oh, is that where you hid them?” You are now a three-time loser in the game of “Bait the Mate.”

When the Colombian formerly known as John arrived much too early in the day to put up the tree and I foolishly said, “Are you putting up the tree today?” I was greeted with the obvious response, “I said I would do it, didn’t I?” This was stated in a somewhat wounded voice as if I did not trust him to actually put up the tree.

Fueled by my excellent chili and 312, a local Chicago brew, plus Latino Mix music on his phone, “He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work…” OK, not true. I was trying to work and someone was asking questions, calling friends, and trying to have me talk on the phone to his mother, who does not speak English. For the record, I do not speak Spanish. “Hola”

When out in the living room there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the front room, I flew like a flash,
Tripped over the footstool and fell on my…face

Well, I didn’t actually fall, but what is all this stuff doing in my way? I stopped to comment on ornaments or some such foolish thing to be greeted with, “Who is doing this, you or me?”

Christmas tree by the one formerly known as John

Let me explain the brief 5-year history of our tree. Roomie never had a tree in Colombia and really wanted one the first Christmas he was here. We have the tree he selected, the ornaments he wanted, even the giant star for the top of the tree he picked out. I don’t think either of us knew it would throw such interesting patterns on the ceiling. It is his tree and he has every intention of doing 100 percent of the setting up and decorating. That’s good because I am past the point of wanting to do it anyway.

Now we are at the next crossroads. I think that after the three kings arrive, so to speak, we can take down the tree.

“OH! Is that when you think we should take it down?” roomie stated all aghast.

Apparently, he thinks sometime in February would be good enough. I am hoping he has his own epiphany before then.

See also:The Christmas Tree Dilemma,” SERENDIPITY, December 11, 2022.

Categories: Anecdote, Christmas, Family, Relationships, Rich Paschall

Tags: , , , ,

19 replies

  1. Naomi and I both had artificial trees which are quite old. We put hers up. Mine is somewhere in the garage. All our Christmas stuff was in the garage and crawling with ants when we went to get it. I think we will get a new tree next year. Artificial, real trees don’t do well in warm climates unless you can plant them later and that would be too heavy a tree for us to move.
    According to my mother decorations must come down on or by 6 January or you were doomed to have bad luck for the rest of the year. Mum’s been gone 25 years but that’s what we do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have always had January 6 as a target date to take down decorations, including the tree. Someone did not grow up with that idea implanted into him.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I would have taken them down, but I wasn’t willing to do it all by myself. I stopped buying “live” trees because the dogs liked to water them and the cats like to climb them and they would drop a gazillion needles that took years to clean out of the floors. I’m very happy with our little permanent tree.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Between the fake snow and the glitter off ornaments and the cotten thing around the bottom, I will be vacuuming the area until July to get it all up.


      • Yes that’s why we stopped as well, In hot weather the pine needles would rapidly turn brown and they would be everywhere for weeks. The cats wanted to play with the tree ornaments or climb and dogs wanted to water it. In the long run a good artificial tree will last longer so it’s also a saving.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes. AND you can get an artificial tree that fits the space you have available. The last “real” tree we got took up our ENTIRE living room. It was beautiful — but as it spread out, it really dropped needles that I’m not sure we ever cleaned up completely. That wasn’t in this house. That was in the triplex condo we had in Boston. We have not had a live tree — except for a very very small one — in this house.

          Liked by 2 people

        • We have a good one. It is up to former John to decorate.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Made me grin…. my dear HH hates to go up in the shared attic. All 6 families of this rental building share the whole surface under the non-insulated roof and it’s hellish hot in summer and icy in winter.
    We keep our tree to the 7th or 8th Jan – and then everything gets dismantled (tree in e sections and a 4fold foot), all the ornaments are carefully put in their nests and stay there until beginning of next December. It was a pricey tree but has already been worth it as fresh trees (which I really love best) come not cheap…
    I hope that you can overcome your frustration and have a good, healthy, new year with much joy and contentment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our tree was a bit pricey, but after 5 years it is better than real trees. It was important the first year to get what he dreamed of having.
      This year was the first time I was home when it went up and it was more commotion than I was expecting. It’s all good. In the evening we watched two movies and finished the chili and 312. It will come down at some point in January.


  3. One of the reasons I started to not want a bigger tree is no one was ever ready to put it away. I could get a hand or two setting it up, but it would linger until my birthday in March came and went. At least with the smaller tree, we can cover it and put it away until next year. I even enjoy it now that I don’t have to wonder how we’ll manage to get up that creaky ladder into the so-called attic to get the boxes, the fill them, then put them back up there. We are either too hefty or too old to be climbing that ladder — and I’m not sure that ladder is going to support anyone. It’s a 50-year- old folding wooden ladder and replacing them was last I checked — several years ago — a few hundred dollars. Probably double that now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have an old wooden ladder in the basement. I can’t really say how many decades I have had it.
      I may have to take down the tree this time. We store it in the basement. The ornaments stay up here as does the star, but no room for a tree.
      If it was not for John wanting it so bad, I never would have purchased such a large tree. I have a ceramic tree that is actually very nice and lights up, 16 to 18 inches tall I guess. That would be it if John did not talk me into this.


      • I started with smaller trees, but they didn’t feel like the real deal. This one is 4-feet which is still tabletop-sized, but it’s not tiny and is at big enough to hang a few decorations. I think you’ll find a tree that small is a lovely decoration, but it’s not a Christmas tree. 4 to 5 feet (depending on how you measure it) is big enough to be a tree. I bought an expensive one that looks so real you have to touch it to be sure it isn’t real and even then, you might not be sure. We’ve had it now for — gee — close to a decade. Time sure flies!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Is it a folding ladders that hangs from a trap door on the ceiling at the attic? And is it more than 50 years old? Because ours really IS that old and every time anyone (including me) climbed it, I was sure it was going to detach from the trap door — and me and that ladder would crash to the floor. Owen is a big guy — and Garry is 80. I think a small tree that doesn’t need to go up into the attic is just FINE for us 😀

        Liked by 1 person


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