I’m allergic to Christmas trees.
I may have inherited my father’s nasal repulsion to the pine pinnacle of the holiday season. There is, in fact, a very high likelihood of that, as I start sneezing as soon as I sit near it.
But that’s not the only form of allergic reaction there is.
The other kind begins round about the time the plastic totes of Christmas decorations pile up in the living room. Upon their appearance, the kids descend in a maelstrom of grabby fingers and fists like the clutching, covetous old sinner himself. But it’s me that’s more like Scrooge in my demeanor. I can’t handle the tissue paper strewn, the fragile ornaments bounced, the stockings splayed when they are not to be hung by the chimney at all right now – never mind with care. They wanted to trim the tree three days ago; their father and I have to attach tiny twinkle lights to the end of each tree branch with a slight gap in tiny twisted wires before even one ornament can be hung.
If we manage to fend them off long enough to get the lights on, once the first ornament is lifted, all bets are off. Look at this one, Mommy. When did I get this one? Is this yours? Daddy’s? Can I put this one up? Do you have a hook? Is this one okay here? Ooh, pretty.
Half of these comments are in response to a family heirloom made of blown glass teetering on the brink of extinction. It’s like they tag-team you: one grabbing the fuzzy, innocent lamb so the other can grab the cut-glass crystal pendant while your back is turned. Wait, what. No, not that one. Don’t do that. Mommy will do that one. Stop. Don’t touch. Daaaaaaaaadddyyyyyy!
My husband actually got me on video last year mid-rant as I tried to control the chaos. It didn’t work and it didn’t make for fun family movies. This year was slightly better. We put the tree in its stand one day (after smearing the ceiling with pine sap and chopping the perfectly tapered spire from the top so it would fit); did the lights and ornaments the next. The plan was to light a fire, put on Christmas carols, and take our time. The kids ended up nagging us for the better part of the day while we attended to family business and I still ended up twitching.
At one point, as I stared down into my four-story ornament organizer, I actually contemplated dropping small squares of paper into each compartment so I would remember where each ornament belonged upon dismantling of the tree. That’s when I figured I was probably taking things too far.
a. I am way too concerned about the level of organization for my out-of-season decorations.
b. That means I probably have too many decorations.
c. That also
means proves that I’m a control freak.
d. And anal-retentive, type A . . . .
e. By fitting things, stuff, multiple objects into compact little boxes to contain them, I’m trying to establish some sort of order on a time/situation/season when I apparently feel overwhelmed.
f. My head is so full of stuff nowadays (several years now) that it can’t hold it anymore/together.
Instead of singing along to the soothing sounds of Bing Crosby’s crooning, I want to stab an ice pick in my eye. Instead of reliving the memories of each ornament and the story it tells, I’m making horrible memories for my children as I snap at them. It’s too much all at once. And there’s that expectation of being so flippin’ merry. There’s the pressure to recreate Currier and Ives. Instead of taking it slow and easy, everything needs to be a production with the stage set and the characters in play.
So, yes, I’m allergic to my Christmas tree. Yes, I hate trimming the tree. Don’t send the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future to my door; I’d probably just yell at them for pawing the ornaments anyway.