January 24, 2015

What Goes Up, Must Come Down, or Why Our Christmas (Tree) Ended Early this Year

Another Christmas has come and gone, and winter looms before us like a long, cold, gray day. What can we do to pass the time?

We can string cranberries into garlands, and paint pine cones with peanut butter and roll them in birdseed to feed the birds. There's a reason for all of this... read on.

One of my faithful readers lamented not getting to see our Christmas tree this year. Well, here it is, in all its glory! It may be our largest ever, with a height of about 15' and a width of about 12' (this is guestimated as we never actually measured it!)

Our Tree prior to cutting it down

Cutting down our tree has been a family tradition for years, and we've cut down trees in California, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin. Here's this year's tree before we got the chain saw out. It was a very cold day and we are all bundled up. But where's the snow?  

We put our tree up quite late this year, only three days before Christmas Eve. We usually enjoy our tree through at least mid-January when we celebrate one of our sons' birthdays. This year, however, the tree had other ideas.

One morning, I was in my bedroom and I heard something fall. When I walked out into the living room, this is what I saw.
And no, Kali Cat had nothing to do with bringing the tree down. At least, I don't think so! She was concerned and stayed next to the tree for quite awhile trying to figure out what had happened to her Christmas tree! If she had a played a part in it falling down, I'm certain she would have run away in fear.

The tree fell right onto the sectional sofa. We had removed two sections of the sofa to make room for the tree, and it fell right onto the open chaise end without an armrest. The part of the sofa you can see is actually a very large, round ottoman, and the tree landed on that as well.
Ornaments that survived were piled up on the counter top
The soft boughs of the tree cushioned the ornaments, along with the soft leather sofa, and miraculously, I think only about 10 ornaments broke -- from well over 400! 

Many of my ornaments are glass, and some are heirlooms. We lost one very special one that said "Grandma" on it that used to be on my in-laws' tree. Grandpa's ornament survived.

The view from the kitchen. It looks like the sofa gently "caught" the tree!

Overall, it was an incredible miracle that no one was sitting on the sofa when this tree came down. 

Our tree weighed somewhere between 250 and 300 pounds! 

I think the way it fell protected all of my precious ornaments, and we were very fortunate that we had so little breakage. It was rather miraculous, actually!

When we decorated, we pinched the wires of the hangers onto the branches, and I believe that is what saved them from flying off and breaking. The only ones that broke I think were shattered when the bead garlands became trajectories, whipping around as the large tree fell.

My son kept saying that underneath the tree we would find a lot more broken ornaments, but as they pulled all of the  ornaments off and then rolled the tree over, very little breakage was discovered.

Lest you think we are crazy to have such a giant tree (and we are), let me say that in 19 Christmases in this house, this is only the second time the tree has fallen down. After the first time, my husband bought a cast iron (!) stand that is mounted onto 2 x 4's. Those boards will now be upgraded to 2 x 6's and reinforced with new angle iron brackets.

I don't think our legacy of enjoying giant trees will end with this one falling down. Every year I say I don't want such a big tree, and they just keep getting bigger. One day, we may opt for a more "normal" sized tree, but for now, we have the time and the energy (and the ornaments!) to fulfill our dream of the "Best Christmas Tree Ever".

And after the season is over, the tree goes outside to provide shelter and treats for our feathered and furry friends seeking assistance to weather the winter cold. I'll post some pictures when I finish decorating it for them. 

For now, I will cherish the memory of our tree, and the time spent decorating it. And mostly, I will remember our special Christmas morning, spent together as a family, opening our gifts around our beautiful Christmas tree.

SUBSCRIBERS! What an oops! Somehow a draft for this post was attached to the email feed sent out the other day on "Embracing Winter Just As You Are". I apologize for you receiving an unfinished post. Please enjoy this post now in its completion.

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