It's fake. It's probably 8 years old. I bought the wrong one - 8 years ago. And every year, I say "we are throwing this tree away. Buying a new one while they are on sale AFTER Christmas". Only every year, I don't really want to spend any money on a tree that is going to go in the crawl space for the next 11 months. I meant to buy the "pre-lit" tree. The ones with the lights on it. Only I purchased the tree with fiber optic lights. The ends of the tree will light up. We quit using those lights 3 years ago and now hang real lights back on the tree. So much for a "pre-lit" tree.
Tree skirt: Something from when I owned the gift company. Plaid, with lace, and a "Merry Christmas" embroidery. Nothing about this tree skirt belongs in our house. Only, I have it. I should use it and I'm not going to buy another one.
Decorations: There is no "theme". No color scheme. Here is where the "drug store" look REALLY takes over.
- Handmade ornaments: Those from preschool. Music classes. Ski ticket holders, all looped in a chain from a weekend in Vail when the boys were little. Beaded "bells" that go on some of the lights from a great Aunt whom is no longer with us.
- Collector ornaments: Nice "Old Worlde Ornaments". "Real" ornaments. Mostly gifts from family members. Some family members have given ornaments over the years - a pickle, an American flag, musical shadow balls, a bird, hockey players, an angel. Usually in pairs (one for each boy to later take to their homes). Also, gifts from friends are hanging there too. Personalized. Special.
- Swarovski crystal ornaments: All in one section. One every year from I think 1999. From my Granny. Every year I think I really should keep them out year round. They are so pretty. But then I would have to dust them and I know that won't happen. Instead they go back in their individual boxes to be stored until next Christmas.
- My medals: The "medal" section. 8 Tri for the Cure medals. Several half-marathon. Several more triathlon medals. A couple of 5k's. (Most races only give medals for "distances" - a lesson learned the hard way). A few years ago, they were all hanging on the back of my bedroom door. I like hanging them on the Christmas tree every year. The "First" of every class (first half marathon, first triathlon, first marathon, etc) - those are framed and are out year around. The rest of them enjoy the limelight for the month of December. So, no, there isn't a new one this year - the half-marathon I did with Nolan, it's being framed with his. (I guess - I haven't done this yet, maybe I need to ask - he might want his own medal framed without mine) In which case, mine will still be framed. It was my first with him. The boys medals stay out year around.
- Ornaments from Carolyn: We stopped exchanging Christmas presents years ago. Each year now for, gosh, at least 20 years, we have sent each other a Christmas ornament. One year, we went to London in November, that year we sent each other the EXACT same Christmas ornament - a snowflake with a picture in the middle picture. We were in a "bike taxi" in London at midnight after a play. We were stuck in traffic. The people in the car next to us took the picture. We both put that picture in the ornament and sent it to each other. Smile. For the next two years, we actually sent each other very similar ornaments to the one each had sent the other.
- The drugstore ornaments: Scattered throughout the tree. Ornaments from all over the world. When I first got married, we started the tradition. Instead of a souvenir, we purchase a Christmas ornament. Or something that would work as an ornament. I've continued the tradition with the boys. We always buy a Christmas ornament to remember once a year our journey's. Vail, Myrtle Beach, Port Aranasas, Hawaii, San Diego, etc. Greece, Germany, London, Mexico and on and on and on. I think we can stop buying ornaments now. Only I won't.
- Then there is "special section". Only we call it the "Handicap Section". Smile now. And please don't tell the politically correct police that we segregate around here. The "Handicap Section" is well, for the broken ornaments. (It is okay if you are laughing). With boys, of course, every year, we break a couple. Some are too bad to salvage and they go in the trash. HOWEVER, the ones, well, let's put it this way: we have a ballerina with no legs. A Sponge Bob with only leg. A snowball with only half of one ski. A surfer with a black eye (only that was intentional). A martini glass with no stem. They get hung on the tree. So, we have a "Handicap Section" of the Christmas tree.
Every year I really think "Oh, we don't really need to put up a tree - it's a lot of hassle". As I write this though, I can feel the love that our crooked, drug-store looking tree emits. All the way up to the cracked "Star"fish on top.