This is a record for us.
Here we are, less than 10 days before Christmas, and our tree — though nice and sparkly with its pre-attached lights — remains undecorated. Not a single ornament hangs from a branch; no star adorns the tippy-top. It is bare.
Of course, I have some good reasons for this sad state of affairs.
I’m an idealist. You see, I have this vision of all four of us decorating the tree together, Christmas music playing, joyful smiles on our faces. Maybe even some hot chocolate afterward. But these days, having all four of us home at the same time happens…almost never. And when it does, it is for a very brief time. So I keep putting off the decorating, thinking there will come a day when it will work, even though that scenario is unlikely.
I’m all off-schedule. I usually plan the tree-putting-up and the tree-decorating for consecutive days. (Yes, I can be a little crazy about my planning, but it works for me.) Put the tree up one evening. Fluff it out. Decorate it the next. But this year, putting the tree up was part of preparing for a party earlier in the season than usual, and it was done in a hurry and with a million other things to be done afterward. So the decorating didn’t happen then. And clearly that has thrown me off in a way that might be irreparable.
I was testing a cat theory. Our cats — despite spray bottle deterrents and lots of yelling on my part — simply canNOT leave the tree alone. For each of their four Christmases, as soon as the tree comes out, they decide that they are — deep down — outdoor cats, and for this reason, they must spend as much time as possible in their “forest” of one tree. Thus, we put the tree up in the den, where we can lock the cats out.
But THIS year, though we put the tree up in the den, I decided to test out a theory I had read on the internet. This theory suggested that if I gave cats more freedom with an undecorated tree, they would soon tire of the tree, losing interest and abandoning it almost entirely. I am here to tell you that the Internet was wrong. The cats have not tired. For more than two weeks, they have been waiting until I’m not looking and then climbing the tree to the very top. At this point, many branches are flattened, some are hanging all wrong, and I fear that this tree may be now on its last year of life.
I am behind on all things Christmas. I don’t know about you, but I am not very on-the-ball when it comes to Christmas preparation this year. Gifts, decorating, baking, planning for get-togethers, responding to invitations…I’m just not keeping up with any of it. I’m hoping enough things come together before the 25th to make things passable, but I guess we’ll just have to see.
It’s not too late, I know. I mean, the tree the will be up for a while after Christmas, and we have the potential for many enjoyable days of seeing the ornaments in their proper place (assuming they don’t look way too weird with the cat-disheveled branches). I just need to put aside my idealism, pull myself together, and get this done. In the meantime, I’m kind of digging the lights-only look.