Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 2, 2012

Dancing with the Christmas tree

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — I have a new respect for my Christmas tree. When the alarm went off on Monday morning at 5 a.m., I didn’t bother to turn on the light. Normally this isn’t a big deal. I know every twist and turn; after all, it is my house. But I had forgotten one important detail. A Christmas tree stood in the living room.

I walked right into its outstretched evergreen arms.

Luckily, I escaped harm. No puncture wounds, or pine needles in the eye.

I recommend everyone start off a Monday with a dance with their Christmas tree. It will give you the holiday spirit, or a rash, if you’re allergic to pine needles.

I gave the tree, still standing in the same awkward position, a lingering look when I left for work that day. My dance card was full.


I could have avoided the crash if I had properly decorated the tree the night before. However, I had extended all of my holiday decorating abilities at my parents’ house. We don’t have a traditional day to decorate, but a deadline. The rest of the family will be in town for a holiday celebration in less than two weeks. That means a rush to decorate, plan menus, clean, cook and more before Dec. 8. And since I like West Virginia football (so does my mom), I instituted another deadline last Saturday. We had to finish decorating by WVU’s kick-off time against Iowa State.  

It was not an easy task. You can’t just toss a few ornaments at the tree and walk away. Believe me, I have tried. Under Mom’s direction, you have to fluff each branch before hanging an ornament. And certain ornaments are more important than others. The homemade decorations — often made in the classroom — are a must, followed by special ornaments that mark an event, like a new home, a special vacation or my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary. Red, gold and silver ornaments rest on the other branches. And yes, we do artificial. Less mess. When I left their house on Saturday night, the tree was finished and a wreath hung on the door. A good start, I thought. But on Sunday night, I left my tree bare, and watched TV instead. Apparently, I need deadlines in life, as well as work. The decision turned out to be a good one. The awkward morning dance would have sent ornaments flying around the living room.

In a matter of days, I have seen dozens of pictures of trees pop up on Facebook. It seems as if everyone has a different touch for the holidays. Christmas trees are personal, I think. I should know, right? My color scheme is red and lime green ornaments with peppermint twists, white ribbon and some glittery tree picks. Of course, I swiped the red ornaments from the leftover stash at my parents’ house. Borrowed ornaments from a hand-me-down tree seemed fitting.


My tree has a special history. Over the summer, my mom and dad met my brother in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. I stayed for a day and then drove to Nashville, Tenn., to meet friends over the weekend. The parents and my brother shopped all day at the outlet stores, mall, gift galleries and even yard sales. There, my mom spotted a random Christmas tree for sale. I recall a phone call about a tree. I also remember promising to graduate from my baby — a respectful 3-foot tree, which I decorated last year in pink, blue and lime — to a larger, grown-up tree. Mom bought it for $5 and brought it to West Virginia. Most people come home from Pigeon Forge with apple butter and tourist-type novelties. My family comes home with a used Christmas tree. I completely forgot about that tree until Sunday night.


When I walked back in the door on Monday night, I rearranged the furniture to accommodate the tree. Then, I started fluffing the branches. A little too aggressive though. I almost pulled the top of the tree out of its base. I plugged the tree up and frowned in dismay. One section of the lights didn’t work. Hands on my hips, I glared at the tree, willing the strand to magically light up. It didn’t work. I wrapped a second strand around the tree. It didn’t take long to hang the decorations. I flipped off the lights and sat down across from the tree. Not bad, I thought, for a $5 tree. I am sure there are nicer trees out there, even ones on sale. I could have bought one of those, but then I wouldn’t have been able to adopt a lonely Christmas tree.

Jamie Parsell is the Lifestyle editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at or follower her on Twitter @BDTParsell.