As you may recall from an earlier post, I don’t usually get a Christmas tree. But with the world such as it is, and with a local health order forbidding get togethers with anyone outside our immediate household, my husband and I decided that maybe we would indulge in a little Christmas magic and buy a tree.
We always buy real trees because 1) we don’t want to store a fake tree all year, taking up valuable space and reeking of mildew when you do haul it out and 2) I read once that real trees are actually more environmentally friendly because of how long it takes for fake trees to break down in a landfill and I took it to heart.
Decision made, my husband offered to stop after work and pick up the tree, which sounded great to me. As much as I love going to stores, standing out in the cold and scrutinizing trees with no real idea of how it will look once it’s untied but feeling pressured to ‘pick a good one’, only to stand in line forever, pay and then carry and forcefully shove said tree into a vehicle to drive it home, I was happy to leave that task to someone else.
Except I really, really should have gone with.
The first time I bought a Christmas tree on my own, I stood in a yard of identical looking trees, wondering why some were forty dollars and others were twenty dollars. They looked exactly the same. Were they older? Less fresh? They didn’t seem to be. “Why would I pay double for the same tree?” I thought and merrily picked out a cheaper tree and drove it home to my little apartment. I didn’t realize that the difference in price was for a very good reason.
It turns out, the cheap trees are murder trees. I might as well have brought home a bin of hypodermic needles to decorate. That tree’s needles were so sharp decorating was almost impossible. I yelped so much my neighbours probably thought I was giving myself a DIY prison tattoo. A fair bit of the red on my first solo Christmas tree was blood. And I swore on my punctured skin I would never make that mistake again.
Until this year.
My husband wasn’t with me during my first purchase of a murder tree. He didn’t know that the only true test of a good tree is to touch the needles and make sure they don’t try to kill you. He just looked for a nicely shaped tree that would fit in the car and went on his merry way. He bought a murder tree.
I knew the second he brought it in the house. One touch and I started whispering “oh no”, over and over like I was possessed, or perhaps someone who’d been flayed before and was in the middle of an intense wave of flashbacks.
“You bought a murder tree.”
“What? No. It’s fine.” He touched the needles. “They’re a little sharp but I can decorate it on my own if you want.”
A little sharp? This tree was the unholy offspring of a rabid porcupine and a sea urchin. This tree didn’t want to be a Christmas tree. It didn’t want to be decorated. It wanted our blood.
A day later, the tree now unthawed and restless for murder, I dug out the thickest gloves I could find for my husband and me and we set to work. They did a decent job protecting our hands but they made hanging ornaments difficult and clumsy. We tried without the gloves but it was too painful. It was like shoving our hands into a basket of, well, needles. One by one we wrestled ornaments onto branches while being mercilessly poked and stabbed everywhere unprotected by the gloves. By the end we were both covered in a rash of red dots that made us look like we had a raging case of chicken pox. My skin itched like it was on fire.
The tree, desperately unhappy to now be a source of twinkling magic and joy, immediately set about killing itself. Despite constantly making sure it had water, the tree turned brittle and dry, barely making it to Christmas. Every time I leaned past it to plug in the lights it stabbed me, its insanely sharp needles puncturing through my jeans like they were nothing.
After Christmas we took it down immediately, lest it burst into flames and take us with it in murdery vengeance. It managed to shed 50% of its needles as we un-decorated it and even more as we dragged it out of the house. One last ‘screw you’ for our attempt to turn it into a Christmas tree. Come summer, we’ll chop it up and burn it, releasing whatever demon was trapped inside to wreak its havoc on the world.
At least now my husband knows to always touch the needles before buying, so hopefully that’s the last demon murder tree we bring into our house.
And let this be a lesson to all of you. Check the needles! Do not buy the murder tree.
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