Even the strongest marriages will be tested when it comes time to put up the Christmas tree.
I know this because I use this festive holiday tradition to test mine every year. Naughty is always more fun than nice and love is the gift that keeps on giving.
Each December, my family heads to our favourite garden nursery, a local business where they hang trees inside greenhouses. It is one of my absolute favourite traditions to walk amongst the trees. It’s like a weird forest where all the trees are perfectly proportioned and full. Tall trees, small trees, perfect in-between trees. Fragrant and green. Yep, I’m romanticizing tree shopping in a greenhouse instead of a forest.
This, my friends, is where my sabotage begins. I cannot help myself. I fall in love with every single tree in the place, turning what the Carpenter believes should be a quick 10 minute process to pick a tree and get out, into a good 30-minute ordeal.
Naturally, I claim affection for at least three trees, all of whom I declare to be the one, only to change my mind and select another. He loves this game (he does not love this game).
I’ve now enlisted the support of our daughter, who knows how to further frustrate her father. She and I empathize with the trees, questioning aloud if we might be hurting the feelings of the other trees, the ones we didn’t select, sort of like not getting asked to prom, because, after all, trees are living, breathing things. Well, they were until we cut them down. Oh, the humanity. Oh, the drama. Then we whisper our choices so as not to offend any sensitive evergreens. Picture, if you will, the Carpenter’s face at this very moment.
Enough. He picks the first tree he liked and that is that. Discussion over.
When it comes time to lug our fantastic fir into the house, deciding where to put it is another ordeal altogether. Truth be told, I’m not that fussy about it. But this year, I felt the need to incite mischief and frustration.
Also, the Carpenter asked my opinion on where I would like the tree set up. He didn’t want my opinion, you understand. It pained him to ask because he knew it wouldn’t be his plan, but he asked. He showed his weakness; consideration.
A decisive man, the Carpenter has excellent visual-spatial awareness and had already mentally moved the living room around to accommodate the Christmas tree. But me? Some might say I am indecisive, or non-committal, perhaps unfocused. I can’t decide. Whatever. I lack vision. Yet, I had opinions. And he asked so, I gave them. And then I changed them. Then I changed them again. Couches, televisions and light stands moved across the room like a chess game with no winners. It was an exercise in futility and involved other words that begin with “F” (fruit cake, fudge, fiddlesticks, etc.) I got caught laughing so the jig was up.
Like knots in the string of Christmas lights, you have to know when to work together and when not to point out the missing bulb if you want to remain merrily married. So long as naughty turns nice, it’s all good.
The tree is up.
Think he’ll let me decorate it?