Christina Dodd Drags the Christmas Tree…Uphill

The Husband and I live on 5½ acres in the woods and every year, we scour our property for precisely the right Christmas tree. Tall, perfectly shaped… Well *tall* anyway. This year we found our tree below the road. When I say *below,* I mean the slope is slide-down-on-your-butt vertical. The Husband and I, dressed in layers that culminated in waterproof gear (it’s December and we are in NW Washington state), hiked down. With his chainsaw, The Husband cut the tree and, slipping and tripping, we dragged it up to the road. Then up the driveway. Then up the stairs, which involved two tight corners and lifting the tree higher than our shoulders. (This is why I lift weights.) THEN we managed to stuff it through the door into the great room. :whew: Then we stood it up in the base, straightened it, said, “It’s hitting the ceiling. It’s too tall…again,” and decided the decorating could wait while we recovered with food and wine.

The next day The Husband said, “I’ve been thinking, the bottom of the tree is pretty sparse. What if we pulled it out and cut off three feet at the base?”

I in no way did him a physical harm. Not only because I’m 5’2″ and he’s 6′, but also because not smacking each other is part of our so-far successful marital agreement. But I did think about it very hard.

Also, he was right. Cutting off the base would take care of a lot of problems, like how to get a topper on the tree.

So yes. The Husband lopped off the lower branches, we pulled the tree out of the stand (it took both of us), The Husband cut the trunk with his reciprocating saw, we stood the tree back up, poked it into the stand, straightened it again, congratulated ourselves, and decided the decorating could wait while we recovered with food and wine.

We are nothing if not consistent.

The next day, we went to work, and at last, the tree is decorated: the top does not touch the ceiling, the bottom is still slightly sparse but we filled it in with lights, garlands and bulbs, and the process only took two ladders and one of those reacher-pincher sticks. It’s beautiful! As it always is. We decided wrapping the presents could wait while we recovered with food and wine…

No matter how much trouble it is, no matter how much of a Charlie Brown tree we have, we always love it. We use ornaments our children made us in pre-school. We hang decorations from The Husband’s family, from my mother (bought at Woolworth’s!) and gifts from dear friends. Some of the glass balls are so old, the glitter and polish have worn off. Our tree is not really adorned with decorations, but with memories.

No matter what kind of tree you have — live or artificial, tall or eccentric, perfectly decorated or decorated with the help of a toddler and a kitten, and maybe you don’t put up a tree, you decorate with a Hanukkah menorah — I wish you the best and brightest of holidays now and every year. God bless us every one.

Christina Dodd
New York Times bestselling author of 


TWO PRIMAL ELEMENTS DOMINATED this remote area of Big Sur, California: the Santa Lucia Mountains to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Their legendary battles gave rise to the storms, the sparkling blue days and the interesting legend of Gothic, City of Lost Souls.

The plaque outside the Live Oak Restaurant read:
On stormy nights, Gothic is said to disappear, and on its return it brings lost souls back from the dead.
The myth was nonsense, of course, but local shops encouraged its belief.
A legend or two is always good for business…

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Christina Dodd Yells Hey! Unto you a child is born!

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