A Treeless Christmas


To say the arbitrary decision about the upcoming holiday wasn’t well received would be the understatement of the year.

The Wife stared at me, lowered her voice, and coldly asked, “What do you mean we’re not going to have a Christmas tree this year?”

Let’s look at my decision-making and then you can decide, Dear Reader, — was I right or had I just made a hard landing on Santa’s naughty list forever?

Logic vs. the Christmas Spirit. First, I had made a big decision while The Wife was at work. My reasoning: I didn’t want to bother her.

Second, I hadn’t discussed it with her first. My reasoning again: I didn’t want to bother her.

Third, it was only logical. How can we possibly have a huge live tree in the living room when we no longer have a living room?

My reasoning: all our furniture is out in the garage, the carpet is going to be torn up and removed, and new flooring will be installed just a few days before the big guy comes down the chimney. That is, if our flooring isn’t still floating on a barge somewhere stuck in the clogged and broken supply chain.

And finally: I was trying to be frugal. Why would we buy an expensive tree only to have it up for a couple of days?

After stating all the above to The Wife, the withering look I received immediately told me I was in real trouble.

Three against one. Quickly realizing I needed to tip the scales about our treeless Christmas back in my direction, I retreated to our granddaughter’s playroom. Surely, they would understand and be on my side.

They listened attentively as I once again explained my reasoning for not having a tree this year. When finished they stopped playing and barraged me with questions.

“We’re not picking out a Christmas tree?” “What about all our ornaments?” “If we don’t have a tree, how are we going to put the angel on top?” And their best argument, “But Papa, where would Santa put our presents?”

A strategic change. Realizing that my decision wasn’t going over well, I decided on another tactic. (It was simply brilliant if you ask me.)

I made a quick retreat to the living room and cut on “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” I fast-forwarded to where Snoopy and Charlie Brown picked out a two-foot tree, took it home, wrapped Linus’s blue blanket around the bottom, and hung one red ornament on it.

As the movie played, I went and got Sweet Caroline’s blue blanket from the bedroom. Returning, I explained we could dig up a very small pine tree from the backyard, wrap the blanket around the bottom just like Charlie Brown and Snoopy did, and then after Christmas replant it.

The girls exchanged looks and went and got The Wife.

A Christmas Tree Compromise.

The Wife came back with the perfect solution, “Why don’t we use that artificial tree we bought years ago? I’m sure it’s in the basement somewhere.” After fighting off the ever-increasing family of spider crickets, I retrieved the little pre-lit tree from the basement, and in less than ten minutes, it was out of the box, set up and plugged in!

The Girly Girls were happy now that we have a tree and a place for Santa to leave their presents. The Wife was happy we have a tree to decorate with the girls. And I was happy to have survived another encounter with the spider crickets, didn’t have dig up a tree from the backyard or spend any money on a tree that would last only a few days before we threw it out.

Next Christmas things will be different. The day after Thanksgiving we will have a giant live tree set up in our living room, one big enough for all those presents from Santa. Hopefully by then the supply chain will have been unclogged and our flooring finally delivered.

Now all we will have to do is find folks to install it. I heard there’s a big labor shortage. Perhaps the girly girls should learn a new trade for the New Year.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001.]