O Christmas Tree

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic


Christmas trees in October?

Submitted: November 30, 2017

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Submitted: November 30, 2017

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“Gray.”

I came first when Dad called us in. Mom came a minute after. I thought for sure she would be mad, but she seems more confused than anything else. She cocks her head, curls spilling over her eyes, and frowns.

“Gray, it’s October.”

“It was on sale, Jen,” Dad says proudly. “Half off. And it’s pre-lit!”

“But, Gray.” Mom just stares at him. “It’s— it’s October. It’s not even Halloween.”

“Can we decorate it for Halloween?” Michael tugs on her shirt. “We could put on some skeletons, an’ a Jack-o-lantern, an’—”

“Whoa!” Rose gushes, coming out of her room. “Who brought home the Christmas tree?”

Seven feet of fluffy green sprigs stretch towards our ceiling. Little white LED bulbs poke out from the branches. The plastic needles are painted with a white glaze that looks like snow.

Mom still looks confused. “It’s October,” she says again, like she doesn’t know what else to say. “Why does Sam’s Club even have Christmas trees in October?”

“Beats me.” Dad tries to look bothered, but we all know the truth. If he had his way, our house would be decorated by the end of September. As it is, we’ve never put up decorations later than Black Friday, and we usually leave everything up until the Home Owner’s Association starts sending us grumpy letters in mid-January. “But it’s a nice tree, isn’t it? It snapped together really easily.”

“Holy cow!” Autumn appears in the living room. “Where’d that come from? Can we decorate it?”

“Sure,” Dad says, just as Mom says—

“No! It’s October!”

“You said that already, Jen.”

“Well, it’s true.” Growing up, Mom’s family bought real Christmas trees. The dry Valley heat kills anything fresh and green within a week, so their decorating always took place days before Christmas. Even the Black Friday decorating seems too soon to her. “It’s bad enough that we’re stuck with an artificial tree. We don’t have to be stuck with it for four months!”

“You’ll hurt its feelings,” Dad says in a wounded voice. “C’mon, Jen. Get in the Christmas spirit.” He takes her hand and spins her around. “Chesnuuuuuuuts roasting on an open fire—”

“I’m roasting without the fire,” Mom grumbles, but a smile creeps across her face. “It’s too hot to get in the Christmas spirit.”

“Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind,” he quotes.

“I don’t care what it is. It’s still too hot.” She rolls her eyes. “It’s a nice tree, Gray. And now that we know it works, just put it back in the box until after Thanksgiving.”

“So we’re not decorating it?” Autumn sticks out her lower lip. “We just got it! We can’t put it away now!”

“Yeah,” Michael agrees. “We gotta put on the orm-a-nents.”

“It’d be a good family bonding activity,” Dad says, putting his arm around Mom. “And you were just saying we don’t have enough of those—”

“Shiloh says we should decorate it,” Rose interrupts, glancing up from her phone. “So does Suniel. And Maya. And—”

“Your friends are nuts. It’s October!”

“It’s fun,” I tell her. Mom shoots me a look. I know, I’m supposed to be the mature one. Who wants to be mature when you could be festive?

“Kaye wants to do it, Rose wants to do it, Autumn wants to do it, and Michael wants to do it.” Dad grins triumphantly. “Hate to say it, Jen, but you’re outnumbered.”

She glares at him.

“What? Blame the kids, not me.”

Mom keeps glaring, but Dad starts to chuckle and she can’t keep a straight face. “Fine,” she relents. “But just the tree. No other decorations.”

“Alright,” he agrees. “Kaye, can you go get the box from the garage?”

I grab the blacklight before obeying. It doesn’t reveal any scorpions hiding around our Christmas stuff, so I pull out the crate marked “ORNAMENTS” and head back inside.

“Let’s make hot chocolate,” Autumn is saying, jumping up and down. “With marshmallows!”

“It’s almost a hundred degrees outside,” Mom sighs, but she heads into the kitchen to heat up milk.

Rose plugs her phone into a speaker and starts blasting Christmas music. Michael helps me open the crate and pull out the boxes of ornaments. He reaches for a crystal angel.

“Don’t touch,” I warn, and he sighs.

“I know. Mommy puts ‘em up top.”

“That’s right,” Dad says, collecting all the breakable decorations. “But I think I see your reindeer ornament right there.” Michael’s face lights up and he grabs Rudolph.

Mom returns with a handful of mugs. Rose and Autumn and I find each other’s favorite ornaments and distribute them. When Bing Crosby sings, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,” we all interrupt the next line with “just like the ones I NEVER knew!”

“At least there’s snow on the tree,” Rose quips, hanging up a wooden Scrooge. “Does that count as a white Christmas?”

“Yes!” Autumn giggles. She rubs her face against the branches, and for a moment we forget about the heat. “Brr! So cold!”

“Gray, here’s the one your brother brought back from Iraq,” Mom muses, digging through the crate. “And the one Autumn made in first grade. And from when the Diamondbacks won the World Series! Remember that, Gray?”

“I remember you shouted at the TV so loudly you woke Kaye up from her nap.”

“I was excited.” Mom blushes as she hangs the purple and teal ornament up. “Oh! It’s the skiing puppy dog!”

“We got that on our honeymoon, didn’t we?” Dad pauses to examine the plastic ornament. He laughs. “I decided I was going to marry you on a ski trip, remember?”

“I remember,” Mom says softly. She leans her head against his shoulder and smiles. “I guess this wasn’t such a bad idea after all.”

 

 


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