The (Christmas Tree) Struggle is Real!

It’s a Hard Knock Life for Us


My husband takes great pride in his Christmas trees.

Every year we pick a tree out, bring it home and he meticulously strings lights around each branch, a process that takes about a week, give or take. He strings more than a thousand lights on our tree and it usually looks beautiful! This year I’d planned on going to Home Depot with him the day before Thanksgiving with our grandson Wyatt, but when Wyatt arrived early, I decided to head down to the Keys to beat the Holiday traffic. Emma was going with him, so I figured she would ensure he picked a good tree.

We usually get our tree the day AFTER Thanksgiving, but Zeke had heard there was a Christmas tree shortage, so he felt he needed to go the day BEFORE. He wasn’t happy I left for the Keys and left this merry little chore to him. After they returned from Home Depot, Emma sent me a photo of the tree. I was horrified. Not only was it very holey, but one side, the branches stuck straight up, like the tree had gone to bed with its hair wet and it stuck that way. Emma sent me a photo of the other side. There were no good sides! I called her to confirm it was a horrible as it looked. She assured me that it was.

I figured if you went with your Dad it would be ok.

I said.

Emma said the guy at Home Depot told them all the trees were awful this year and that the tree looked deceptively full when they saw it. A friend in a group chat sent a panicked text the day after Thanksgiving saying she couldn’t find a tree at her go-to spot, so went to the Firefighter’s Lot and there was in a LONG LINE, so if you wanted a tree you needed to go soon. She usually gets a beautiful 12-foot tree, but this year said she got a “baby tree” and saved her husband a lot of money.

People in the text group that had pre-lit Balsam Hill (fake) trees were gloating about how they loved their tree; one person who paid $320 for an eight-foot tree agreed a Balsam Hill tree might be in her future. I sent a photo of the pathetic tree Zeke dragged home, with the caption “When you let your husband go Christmas tree shopping without you.” And then posted it on Instagram. Nothing says the Holidays like a public outing on Social Media.

It was, of course, compared to the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. And, like that tree, it was suggested that with lights, garland, ribbons and ornaments, it could be made beautiful. I told them that there wasn’t enough lipstick in the world to make this pig of a tree look pretty. Someone else (Tami) suggested we cut some of the long branches sticking up and insert them into the center, since the (crooked) trunk was showing. Everyone agreed it was an awful tree; one person suggested he’d purposely picked a terrible-looking tree so I would never let him shop for a Christmas tree alone again.

My mother was babysitting Phoenix at my house the day after Thanksgiving, so I called her to see how it was going. He’s at the age where he has separation anxiety so when he saw my Mom, he burst into tears and cried himself to sleep. I asked her: “Have you seen our tree?” She couldn’t have missed it as it’s in the corner of the living room, where you first walk in.

Yes, what happened? Zeke usually takes such pride in his trees.

my Mother.

This cracked me up. I explained to her the Christmas tree shortage etc…. Supply chain, blah, blah blah.

We celebrated Thanksgiving in the Keys.

Wyatt whipping egg whites for the Fluffy Pumpkin Pie.

It was nice, but a bit of a production. I’m not set up to roast a turkey there so had to bring: the roasting pan, baster, electric knife, gravy boats, casserole dishes, pie plates, pie crust protectors, tablecloth and decorations. Also, all the food- Cranberry Sauce, Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, crudite, dip- I’d made ahead. I went down with Wyatt on Wednesday, put a rub on the turkey (which was still semi-frozen), made the Green Bean Casserole and Pumpkin Pies. Wyatt helped with the pies, whipping the pumpkin puree with the spices and egg yolks and whipping the egg whites before we poured it into the crust and baked them. It was Julia Child’s recipe for Aunt Helen’s Fluffy Pumpkin Pie.

Zeke arrived bright and early Thanksgiving (also my birthday) morning and I put on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for Wyatt to watch. This is a tradition in our family and my grandmother always used to call us to make sure we were watching. I sort of forced Wyatt to watch (he was bored) but I love it, especially the floats, The Rockettes and the Broadway play performances. It made me want to go to New York!

A.J. and Justin arrived with Phoenix about an hour before we ate. I’d put a Spicy Rub on the Turkey (Butterball recipe) and it turned out delicious and moist, with my grandmother’s Sausage Stuffing the star of the show. I’ve tried getting Organic Turkey at Whole Foods that cost a fortune and couldn’t tell the difference, so this year I got a good old Butterball for fifteen bucks at Publix. Everything else was delicious, and as we all tried the Pumpkin Pie, Wyatt was proud that he helped make it and said the special ingredient he added was love.

I can taste it in every bite.

Justin said.

I hope you taste the love this Holiday season and remember- don’t let your husband go Christmas Tree shopping without you!

Up Next: Italian Hot Chocolate

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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