the bathroom reader website just told me that about 75% of American families put up a Christmas tree, and of those, 54% are artificial.

rich brought into our marriage, his own Christmas tree.  it had a slight dent on one side, so we always aimed that side to the wall.  our second married Christmas found with a minor problem.  the kitten he had received (chewie) kept jumping from various pieces of furniture into the tree.  after picking it up off the floor and rehanging the ornaments, twice, we realized that we probably were not going to break him of it, so rich anchored it to the wall with eye-hooks.  thankfully, the next year chewie didn’t seem interested in the tree, other than a few sporadic sniffs.

when we moved to north carolina, we gained 20 acres of woods.  so for the first few years, we cut our own tree.  I loved them, they looked primitive, like you would find in southern living magazine.  rich and the kids, though, thought they looked like a charlie brown tree, so eventually they won, and we stopped dragging them up from the woods.  we bought one from a lot one year, but the next year, rich didn’t want to spend that kind of money on a tree that was going to die.

so, it was back to an artificial tree.  I found a good deal on a pre-lit model at walmart on black friday 3 years ago.  last year when we set it up, the middle section was burnt out.  after messing, and testing, and pulling, and replacing, and I daresay a little cursing, we just strung some other lights onto it.

this year, we went to lowe’s looking for a new tree.  I wanted one of those that look life-like.  have you seen them?  they’re really cool! unfortunately, they’re also all pre-lit.  they only had one tree that didn’t have lights on it, and it was really stupid looking, with pine cones…I apologize if any of you have that tree, I’m sure it’s perfectly lovely in someone’s home, but not on the display stand at lowe’s.

needless to say, we left empty handed.  I would have bought one of those beautiful trees in a heartbeat, pre-lit or not.  but, they all had clear lights on them.  now, lights have always been a point of contention in the hockett household.  I like clear lights, I think they’re elegant, pretty, I just like them.  the people who live here with me, all prefer colored lights.  and garland.  and tinsel.  YUCK!  YUCK!  YUCK!

this became such a sore spot, that several years ago, I bought a tree of my very own.  I would set it up in the kitchen of our old house, and then in the entry way of this house.  I string it with clear lights and cranberry garland.  I decorate it with all of my primitive ornaments, the ones that just don’t blend in with all the cutesy ones on the family tree.  I have little elves and angels that sit in my tree, and gold stars scattered in the branches.

anyway, this year, we pulled all the stuff out of the garage attic, and this year, the bottom most section of the tree is dead.  we now have a striped tree, one section lit, the next not, the next lit, the bottom not.  pretty avant garde, actually.  we didn’t even attempt to figure out where the problem was.  rich just sighed, and went to walmart for more lights.

I have a feeling that next year, we’ll bring home one of those beauties from lowe’s.