Oh, Christmas Tree!

I was a tad disgruntled about not getting a Christmas tree. In the past few years I'd been able to fulfill the need for a fresh pine smell and white lights by creating swag for all of our doorways, but this year swag had been deemed out of the question (primarily due to the time it consumed to fashion, and the mess it left in its wake). As an adult, a Christmas tree had always been out of the question because it, well, killed a tree. And we couldn't afford a live one. Living in Portland, it is common for such environmentally goody-goody ideas to infect many of the simple enjoyments you had as a child— all the wholesome traditions of youth become suspects in the case against mankind's longevity.

But then Ariana came home one afternoon and told me that the good fellows down at St. Vincent DePaul were selling trees for ten bucks. Such a price acted as a balm for our leftist guilt and I was down there in a flash with a handful of our laundry money to get a tree. I can safely say that bringing home that tree has been the brightest point in the season thus far.

The only trouble with our lovely tree was that we had nothing to adorn it with. Yes, we had a collection of white lights, but no ornaments to speak of and no time to make any either. We went out to look for a few ornament sets, vowing to spend no more than twenty dollars.

At a local shop we found two sets of glitter dusted pine cone ornaments which weren't too ostentatious, and this wonderful owl, which we just couldn't pass up.

Even after getting the lights and ornaments up the tree still felt quite sparse. We then started hunting about the house for other items that might temporarily serve as holiday decor. We ran across a box or ribbons, some artificial nests, a bit of wool roving, and a collection of golden walnuts that St. Nicholas has delivered to me for the past few years.*

Ariana wrapped the tree in ribbons tied together to create one long garland and the nests became beds for the golden walnuts. The tips of branches received little white bows from excess bits of ribbon and lace and, after an hour or so, we had a tree that was quite festive, in a shabby chic sort of way. I don't know if Martha Stewart would approve but as she's not slated to visit our house this Christmas I don't think it much matters whether she'd give it two enthusiastic thumbs up.

The only thing left to consider was the tree-topper. We had no angel and our thrifted Mexican yarn dolls didn't quite have the right feel. Then I remembered this vintage puppet that Ariana had found at Goodwill during our fated Black Friday outing. She had purchased it because it looked like our dear kitty Tilou and was constructed most carefully from some very nice mohair. We put it at the top of the tree and placed the end of the ribbon garland in her paws. . . the effect is so sweet its almost maudlin. Almost.

*A story that is really far too complicated to get into here.

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