Thank you for the lovely Christmas card and for inviting us to your New Year’s Eve bash. I have been meaning to write, but we have really had a busy year.
We decided to have a real tree for Christmas instead of using an artificial one like we usually do. Decorating the Christmas tree has always been a favorite part of our holiday.
We didn’t know about looking for a tree that is fresh by bending the needles to see if they break. It was hard enough to find one with a trunk that wasn’t so crooked that the stupid tree would not stand up.
We were supposed to cut two inches off the trunk to keep it fresh, but you pay for those things by the foot. Why lob off $20 worth of the tree? We couldn’t find the saw and who wants to spend all evening sawing anyhow? We thought it looked okay the way it was.
I put some water in the tree stand when we finally got the thing standing up. Who knew a tree could drink so much water? It looked a little limp but we couldn’t run a hose to it in the house.
Did you know you can put an aspirin in the water to keep it fresh? Me either. I’m not Martha Stewart and I didn’t think it had a headache. I did, though, since by now needles were falling off the thing like rain.
I found some antique lights at a garage sale that were really nice. Somebody had probably torn off the UL label, but they worked just fine except for a few lights that blinked and sizzled a little. It didn’t matter to me.
I plugged all the lights sets together and put them on the tree. I know they say that you should only use three sets on one extension cord, but I couldn’t have extensions cords running all over the house. We would probably trip on them and knock the tree over. I used one extension cord and ran it under the rug where it would be out of the way.
It was a beautiful tree. Everyone agreed it was the prettiest tree we have ever had.
We are still not sure what happened. We were eating dinner on Christmas Eve when the smoke alarm went off. This time, believe it or not, it was not my cooking that did it. We thought it might be the candles on the table until we realized that smoke was coming from the living room.
Have you ever seen a forest fire?
Thank goodness for neighbors. They heard us outside in the snow screaming FIRE, FIRE and called 911. After the firemen left, we went to a motel and will stay here until the house can be rebuilt. We were not very happy about all our Christmas presents burning up, but the firemen said we were lucky as it could have been much worse.
When it was on the evening news, the news anchor said that fire departments get a lot of calls during the holiday season from people like us who set the Christmas tree on fire with unsafe lights. I’m glad we are not the only ones. Did you see the story on the front page of the paper? You probably didn’t recognize me in the picture with all the soot on my face.
Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know that we will not be celebrating Christmas this year. We plan to help out at the local soup kitchen since we now know what it is like to be out of house and home during the holidays. I don’t care if I never have another Christmas tree — ever!
We would love to come to your New Year’s Eve party, though. It will be nice to be with friends and celebrate after such a hectic year. Thanks for asking.
You are not planning on shooting off any fireworks, are you?
Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Don’t worry, the part about the house burning is fiction. However, the safety precautions are real. Somehow people seem to remember a fictional story better than a lecture. Happy holidays!