Nailing down love and Christmas


Stand up picture frame with buttons by Mac. No nails necessary. (Cool photo taken by my brother.)

This year my husband bought a big Frasier fir for our Christmas tree. In fact, if the angel on top wasn’t so busy praying, she could reach her hand up and touch the ceiling.

Two weeks ago, the grandchild came to help decorate. The little one especially liked the lower, right side of the tree and put about a third of the ornaments there. I kept encouraging the child to branch out and decorate in other places, but a favorite part of the tree is a favorite part of the tree, grandma.

Later that evening, I noticed that several of the ornaments looked unhappy. The clay star kept poking the seashell angel, who couldn’t see because the candlestick was in the way. One of the origami angels had turned her back on both the snowman and the candy cane to pout because she was stuck way in the back. When I saw that the wooden reindeer was preparing to leap off the tree, I intervened. Nothing saddens me more than suicidal Christmas ornaments.

After putting everyone in their place as I am won’t to do, I settled into my rocking recliner as my husband reclined on the couch to “rest his eyes,” as in: Did you have a nice nap? I wasn’t sleeping. Well, you were snoring. No, I was just resting my eyes. The tree stood in the corner, not snoring, and suddenly leaned forward as if it had something to say to me. Then in a perfect imitation of my husband, it reclined on the floor in front of me, resting its lights.

My husband may be sixty, but he can still leap like a young man. He pulled the tree up and leaned it into the corner while I cleaned up the mess. We only lost one ornament, a glittery little heart that shattered, much like my little heart when I was a child and my sister broke my arm. You can read about it here . (Hi sis, and Merry Christmas.)

Thankfully, the lights pulled out of the wall socket when the tree fell because most of the water in the tree holder splashed out onto the carpet.

Husband blamed it on the cheap, piece-of-junk tree holder, so we hurried over to a big box store to find a not-a-piece-of-junk one. (Manufacturers, you are missing a large group of consumers out there by not putting “This is NOT a piece of junk” on your products.) We bought one that looked sturdy, but because you can never be too sure or too safe, after we got the tree situated in the new container, my husband nailed the tree stand to the floor. Through the carpet.

This is not the first time he has put nails in the carpet. The floors in the back bedroom squeak and to make them stop channeling mice, he drilled in special screws with break-off tops. They would not be silenced.

The tree, however, continues to stand, bearing lights and memories of Christmases past, minus that tiny heart, because when my husband says stand, he means stand, and if you don’t, he will nail you to the floor, Mr. Christmas Tree.

Now you know why I love that man. Thirty-one years ago this month, he nailed me to his heart, and I’ve been standing here beside him ever since, a little less glittery than when we started, but bearing a thousand memories of our lives together.

Merry Christmas, everyone. By reading, commenting, sharing, writing, and making me laugh and cry, you have given me many more memories to decorate my life.

(If you want to read more about trees and their kindnesses, see the post at youknewwhatimeant.)

26 thoughts on “Nailing down love and Christmas

  1. I laughed too. At the description of your husband and the tree “leaning” all the way to the floor! I won’t laugh at my husband any more when he literally “strings ours up”. He would probably nail it if our floor wasn’t stone!

    Have a delightful, event free remainder of Christmas!

  2. My daddy used to anchor the TOP of the tree to the tops of the window frames on the two adjacent walls (tree went in the corner). He always bought a tree that was JUST a little higher than the ceiling, so one of my vivid Christmas memories of him is the annual tree-on-the-porch-being-shortened-with-handsaw ritual. A little off the trunk, a little off the top, a little more off the bottom, take off the lowest branches so it will still go all the way into the stand, and a little more off the top…. His patience is also the theme of my other big Christmas memory of him, daddy on the ladder hanging the smallest ornaments at the top (and trying in vain to get us to hang the rest in graduated size, biggest at the bottom, medium at the middle, and midsize between the middle and bottom or middle and top as appropriate), and then for the last touch, daddy on the ladder and the floor for what seemed like hours, hanging the strands of lead tinsel (remember that? how straight it would hang, unless you bunched it up and then it was ruined forever) one by one, evenly spaced, on every branch, When finished, the tree really was a thing of beauty and a tribute to his precise eye, patient mind, and quietly loving heart. A Christmas tree is a very revealing thing.

    • I agree with your daddy that ornaments size and location on the tree matter. No one in my family agrees with me. And I remember the tinsel; it was heavy and gave the tree such shimmer. Butt was time consuming to place each strand on one by one. Just throwing it on the tree didn’t work. I think our trees do reveal something. I wish I could get a grant from the government to research that. : )

  3. Margie

    There are some things about men that are universal. ‘Resting their eyes’ is one of them!

    Last year my two grandsons helped me decorate the Christmas tree. One of them carefully hung the ornaments in well spaced order on the tree. The other chose the non breakable ones and hung them – well actually flung them at the tree and hoped they would stick.

  4. This was entirely too cute … accidentally bumped across your site by following a link from who-knows-where … anyway, this had me smiling from beginning to end. Too funny!

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