Having a live tree has been a live, in-home therapy session for my closeted holiday OCD.

We had such a magical day planned to go pick out the perfect tree. We’d hop in the car and sing Christmas carols the whole way. We’d walk together down the rows and rows of trees, homemade hot chocolate and saw in hand, eager to find the one. Then we’d say a prayer, take it home, and spend the evening sighing and wearing buffalo plaid.

The reality was I left the hot chocolate on the counter, it was freezing rain, and after 10 minutes the kids were like, all this shit looks the same, can we play on your phones while you have whatever moment you’re trying to force here? Turns out, magical isn’t really our style.

Christmas tree 2013

This is Betty. She’s a Fraser Fir who likes hot toddies and oven hot Chex Mix. She leans both ways, depending on how much she’s had to drink, and she’s a little bottom heavy (aren’t we all).

Our fake tree was definitely easier, less maintenance and symmetrical. But the smell that fills my house is like crack, and while I need one more live thing in this house to be accountable for like a hole in my head, there is something organically human about the whole thing.

I’m not the only flawed one taking residence in this chaos. It’s me and her, and we both drink and drop our jewelry everywhere and still manage to find the strength to let small things find safety beneath us sometimes.

Christmas is a holiday that has become less about me, and more about me trying to create meaningful experiences for others, while I watch and document them having those experiences, so I have tangible proof I’m not failing at everything all the time. Um, I can’t be why you’re miserable, I have the hashtags and photographic evidence I’m a good time.

And while part of my most precious memories include the ones I witness as a parent, I miss the wonder and excitement we’re all still allowed to be filled with. Just because I’m the one moving the elf or wrapping the presents at 2am, doesn’t mean I’ve aged or life-experienced out of the holidays.

There’ll be more than one sparkly and voluptuous lady leaning against the walls singing Jingle Bells this year.

My Christmas soul needed Betty.

Art direction and styling courtesy Gigi and our thumbed rescue, Zoe, who lives under the tree like a troll and attacks anyone who walks by or tries to water it. Cheers, Betty.

 

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