Monday, December 22, 2008


T'is nearly the night before Christmas and my tree is dead.

Not slightly brittle, dry and a bit musty, but dead.

Dead: ornaments dragging on the floor and falling off branches which droop and sag. Dead: the softly shurring tinkling, winkling noise as needles shower gently to the floor every time we so much as breathe on it. Dead: its unhealthy and somber shade of brown.

At least I am supposing that is its current color, as I refuse to turn up the lights to really inspect it. Suffice that the Ghost of Tree Past haunts me every time I look over to its corner - I don't need further proof of its deadness exposed in the harsh glare of a full-spectrum light.

This is the second year in a row that my Christmas tree is thoroughly dead even before Christmas Eve.

One might suppose that maybe I went to a bum tannenbaum purveyor, or that I bought it too early. Or put it too close to the woodstove. All excellent questions. And the answer to every one of those is nope, nope, and nope.

Because my blogmate and her S.O. got a tree from the very same place, nearly ten days earlier than mine and have parked theirs right in front of their monitor, and across the room from their wood stove, and, you guessed it, their tree is alive, luscious and vibrantly green.

"Perhaps you did not love it enough", opines CabinDweller's S.O. I laugh manically and throw an ornament (that has rolled off a limp limb) at her head. Didn't love it enough???

Man, I babied that sucker. I didn't make the mistake I did last year - which was to shove it under the dog box and give it a chilly, if not downright freezing, ride home.

Nope, not this time, not this tree. I left the truck engine running while I went and made my choice, so the cab was a cozy 60 degrees or so. It rode up front swathed in its plastic tree bag like some petty Jersey don that ran afoul of Little Nicky Scarfo. Once home, I whisked it into the house, cut several inches off its stump and plopped it immediately into the tree stand filled with fresh water laced with "Keeps-It-Green" (extends tree life! retards needle drop! exclaims the label).

I knew I was in trouble when even before I had finished decorating the tree, the tree had stopped drinking water (retards needle drop! reduces fire hazard!). And I was right. Twelve days later it is deader than dead.

Now I have had real "real" trees (as opposed to the Charlie Brown Alaska trees we all love for their ease in decoration) for several years. Sometimes I have bought them in the first week of December, and one memorable year, I left the tree up til Valentine's Day (though that was due to sloth rather than an especially vigorous tree). Never have I had trees die within two weeks of purchase, except for the past two years.

Which is when I started using "Keeps-it-Green".....hmmmmm.


Ishmael said...

Huh. You hit all the points I was going to make.....

I know cut flowers do well in 7-Up (room temp when applied).... Maybe that'll work next year.

Then again there's the artificial tree. And the option here at the bunker: forgo the tree purchase altogether and enjoy the ones the neighbors light up across the street.

In any case, thanks for telling me what a tannenbaum is.

Merry Xmas!

KC said...

It's not very manly, but I went to the fake tree thing in years past. That way, I can neglect the heck out of it. And it won't catch from my stove and burn my home down.

This year I just screwed the whole thing, and used the space to put toys for me. :}

Deirdre Helfferich said...

I've always had good luck with keeping Christmas trees alive, for months.

My suggested method--First: put it in a bucket of cool water (not cold), but just a bit. Let it thaw out slowly. It's been outside and is being very rudely awakened. In the meantime, get some warm water and get out the extra dark molasses, brown sugar, and mix it up so the water looks like that brown pond water you see in the woods. Add it to the bucket (fill about half to three-quarters full). Also, give the poor thing some light. Actual sunlight.

I avoid the special goop they sell. Doesn't do anything so far as I can tell. My aunt used to put an aspirin in there, but I don't think that did anything either.

Course, we always used freshly slain black spruce, which are tough as nails and look half dead anyway, and when they do die, they drop all their needles. At once. But usually that's in February.

Could be that you've got a vegetarian vampire in your house, though, in which case you're stuck until you get out the holy water.

Hire Intelligence said...

Make 1/4 inch drill bit holes, say 4 to 5 and at least 3 inches deep, after you do a fresh cut of 1/2 to one inch off the butt end. Do all this and put into stand with water in less than 5 minutes. Trees like to heal by sealing their cuts closed.