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Ho~Ho~Ho! Merry Christmas! November 29, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness, People.

IMGP2252bI love Santas.

Small ones, tall ones, fat ones, thin ones, red ones, green ones, and everything-in-between ones:

* I have a cat, a dog, a gator, a bear, and a mouse, all dressed as Santas.

* My Scottish Santa boasts a kilt.

* Several hand-carved Santas have pipes.

All have a twinkle in their eye.

As my collection of Santas grew, my desire to have an enormous Christmas tree sitting in the middle of the living room, taking up valuable real estate, diminished.

So BFF and I gave the behemoth to Goodwill, along with several strands of tangled lights, numerous boxes of toxic tinsel (that kept ending up in our cats’ digestive tracts and litter boxes), and ornaments which did not add to our enjoyment of the holiday season.

We kept a small, three-foot tall table top tree which we decorated with our favorite ornaments ~ Santas, angels, zebras, musical instruments, and hand-made ornaments from our nieces and nephews.

A few weeks after donating the large tree, we hosted a Holiday Open House for friends and family.   As soon as CTE (Christmas Tree Enthusiast) arrived, he looked around the living room, scanning with radar-like precision.  He swept back and forth a few times, with a perplexed look on his face.

He swept past dozens of Santas displayed on every surface, and in every nook and cranny.

He ignored the three-foot tall table top tree   next to where he was standing, and appeared not to see two smaller Christmas trees ~ one on the dining room table, and the other, complete with twinkling lights, on the hutch.

As he scanned the room, his eyes could have slowed or stopped periodically to admire nutcrackers, stockings (hung by the chimney with care), wreaths, holiday candles (glowing with warmth), reindeer, and other prominently displayed reminders of the season at hand.

Sadly, he missed all of the above.

With a look of utter amazement and complete disbelief, he asked, in an almost angry tone of voice, “Where is your Christmas Tree?”

“Right there,” I returned, pointing to our petite masterpiece.

“No.  Where is your B-I-G Christmas Tree?”

“That is our B-I-G Christmas Tree.  The two S-M-A-L-L trees are over there, and over there,” I added, helpfully pointing them out.

“Why don’t you have a B-I-G Christmas Tree?”

“We gave it away because we didn’t really enjoy having it that much.”

“What do you mean?  You HAVE to have a tree,” he said, with such obvious authority that I wondered whether we had overlooked that clause in a social contract we had signed inadvertently at some point  during our married life.

“We don’t HAVE to have a tree,” I said with a smile, starting to enjoy this unexpected cross-examination.

“Of course, you do.   Where are you going to put your presents?”

“Right over there, next to my three foot tall Santa.”

“You can’t put your presents next to a Santa Claus,” he said as if he were speaking to someone who was mentally challenged.  “Presents belong under a Christmas Tree.”

“Well, I don’t know if that’s an actual rule . . . ”

Even after I reminded him that we didn’t have any children who would be devastated by the lack of a tree on Christmas morning, its absence continued to bother him.

Shaking his head in dismay, he wandered over to the bounteous buffet where he  filled his plate with shrimp cocktail, without commenting on the size of the shrimp.

Later, I watched him enjoying the cocktail-sized sweet and sour meatballs and petite pigs-in-blankets.  He did not ask, even once, “Where are your B-I-G wieners?  Where are your B-I-G balls?”

Despite the food, drink, and convivial conversation, CTE remained stiff and ill-at-ease for the remainder of the party.  Apparently, our lack of conformity  to tradition, and our obvious disregard for Christmas decorating etiquette, made it impossible for him to enjoy the holiday gathering.

Instead of accepting the “what is,” as Zen enthusiasts encourage us to do, he kept looking around for the one thing that was missing.

Now, you must understand that our Christmas tree never rivaled the tree displayed outside Rockefeller Center.  Nor was coming to see our tree the highlight of anyone’s Christmas season.  In fact, our Christmas Eves and Christmas Days were never spent under our own roof.

You must also understand that I at no time suggested that CTE reduce the size of his own tree, which to this day easily consumes at least 75% of the available square footage in his cramped living room.

Nevertheless, he couldn’t shake the feeling that we somehow had deprived him of an essential element to his enjoyment of the Christmas Season.

After cleaning up from the party, I hurried  to my office and typed up a quick letter to Santa to ask whether we had committed an egregious faux pas by foregoing a B-I-G tree as the center-point of our holiday decorations.

Santa’s response?

“Ho-Ho-Ho!  Merry Christmas!”

I love Santa.


1. kateshrewsday - November 29, 2010

Wonderful post, and your fabulous collection of Santa pictures is truly inspiring and right up my street! Especially the really ancient one- is that 16th century?
I loved every word.

nrhatch - November 29, 2010

Thanks, Kate!

I don’t have my Santa photos on my computer due to a hard drive crash. These are borrowed from Wikipedia.

2. Cindy - November 29, 2010

Lovely writing, a really good read, Nancy.
Pity about the hard drive crash, would love to see photos of your collection.

nrhatch - November 29, 2010

Once I decorate this year, I’ll take some photos to share.

My Santa collection is smaller now than at its peak ~ redistributed to nieces and nephews each Christmas. 🙂

3. jannatwrites - November 29, 2010

Cats and tinsel…ewww. I can’t even use ribbon to decorate packages because they’ll eat them and I get treated to red and green shimmers in the box. (Thank goodness never a vet bill because of tied up intestines.)

I cracked up at your recollection of the conversation with the CTE. Especially the big weiners and balls 🙂 I think he just may have been jealous because you had floor space without a tree and he doesn’t.

nrhatch - November 29, 2010

We don’t buy the icicles any more ~ not taking any chances with Tigger. Our previous cats ate it all the time with no apparent ill effects.

Conversations can be inspirational for writers. Instead of getting “annoyed” at the “bossy people” in our lives, we can take notes of the gems tossed our way. 😉

4. Patricia - November 29, 2010

I have not had a tree in several years. It got to be more of a chore than a delight so I stopped the tree tradition. I have a “village” that I display and enjoy instead.

If I had kids or grandkids I would probably have a tree–it is part of the wonder for them I think.

nrhatch - November 30, 2010

That’s how we felt. That we lugged it out every year and spent hours decorating it without adding any real joy to the season.

We would put up a tree if we had young kids living under our roof . . . keeping an ear out for Santa Claus.

5. 4minutewriter - November 30, 2010

Glad to know it’s ok with Santa to not have a B-I-G Christmas tree. Now I don’t feel bad about just having a decorated house plant for the season…

nrhatch - November 30, 2010

Santa’s cool!

Now that we live in Florida, we might buy a small potted palm tree and decorate it with miniature flip flops. 🙂

6. andalibmarks - November 30, 2010

You know, reading that comment, ‘But where are your B-I-G wieners’ – maybe he should have had a look in the mirror.


nrhatch - November 30, 2010

CTE is a perfect example of how we view our view of the world as the one and only “correct” view of the world . . . no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary. 🙂

7. Barbara Gunn - November 30, 2010

This is too funny and makes me feel great that I decided this year- enough is enough!! No more trees, big or little, real or phony. I collect snowmen, which adorn every available space in my living room.

nrhatch - November 30, 2010

Good for you! Snowmen are quite festive! 🙂

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