After Thanksgiving Christians everywhere go on a quest for a Christmas tree. Maybe it’s a real tree or maybe it’s just up in the attic covered in dust in need of fluffing and preening. Our family tradition in Colorado is to pay $10 for a permit to cut down a tree from the Pike's National Forest, bundle up and trudge through the forest to find just the right one and then slowly murder it with a hack saw.
At first, I had so much guilt about the whole murdering a real tree thing. That I was single handedly obliterating the world's forests by cutting one down. Turns out this is good for the densely populated forest and helps it to stay healthy. Guess I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Why do we dress up a tree like a Las Vegas show girl for a month to celebrate Jesus’ birthday anyway? Where in the world did this bizarre tradition start?
In a Muslim country, there aren't any real Christmas tree forest for us to "save". What in the world are we going to do about a tree? Is it still Christmas without a tree? What about gifts? Personally, I thought we should string some lights up on a huge palm tree in the front yard. Except there’s a fatal flaw with that plan. Winter is the rainy season here. Rain + electricity + tree + 4 kids = fatality. So I was talking to a friend the other day and she mentioned she found trees and wrapping paper at a local store. We're so there.
This marks the first time in our family history that we have gone in search of a Christmas tree with a shopping cart. The kids wearing shorts and listening to Arabic muzak playing overhead at the Marjane is also a first. It’s not possible to have less Christmas spirit than we do right now. We head to the back corner of the store where they have a small Christmas section with garland, Santa's hats, candles, and some trees. That's when we see it. All one foot of it wrapped in cellophane, the Dirham equivalent of $2. Our Charlie Brown Christmas tree. How are we going to select that one lucky ornament to decorate it? And where are we going to put it?
I figure the upside of having a one foot tree is it’s portable. Sure, we could put it in the middle of the train set like Christmas tradition dictates. But why? If I'm cooking in the kitchen and feeling a little lonely, I can bring it with me. If the girls want to have a sleepover with the tree in their room, why not? It can be a centerpiece in the dining room table. Why bring a book with you to the bathroom when you can bring the Christmas tree? We could even take it on a road trip in the car. Who else can do that? On Christmas day Santa can build a pyramid of presents and put the tree on top like a star! And think about how useful a little tree is going to be to construct a trap for the leprechauns come March!
I'm starting to think that we've been given a gift this year. The ability to think outside the box. It's not about tree and whether it's real or fake. Or even if you have one at all. It's not about scoring wrapping paper. Or listening to the Little Drummer Boy with his incessant drumming that will drive you to overindulge on egg nog. It’s about having the Christmas spirit regardless of where you are and what you have or don't. Now, I wonder if I can buy some spirit at Marjane?
Oh, never mind all that crap, I just found a 4 foot fake tree on sale at Label Vie!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
Where in the world could you be?
Maybe we should check at Marjane
And find a tree only Charlie Brown won't pawn...