Totally Worth It

Despite having been together for ninety kajillion years, Sean and I have never spent Christmas together. Don't get too excited, we're not spending this Christmas together either---I'll be in Singapore with my family, he'll be in Connecticut with his---but we have, this year, finally taken part in the time-honored ritual of lovey-dovey couples everywhere: choosing and decorating a tree.

Now honestly, a fair amount of effort went into this: Sean, a reasonable and very generous man in all other aspects of his life, was of the opinion that a Christmas tree---for two people who weren't going to be spending Christmas together---was a waste of time and money. "What's the point?" he said for weeks. "I'm leaving on the 20th, you're leaving on the 21st, the cats will probably knock it down, it'll die within the week, we'll be sweeping up pine needles every day, and then we'll come back in January just to have to dump it on the curb."

"Oh darling," I said. "You're such a hopeless romantic."

But what do you know, continual pressure and pleading will really wear a man down. (Exhibit A: our first cat, Charlie, adopted with the caveat "oh fine, but just this one." Exhibit B: our second cat, Sadie.) And so this weekend, we drove to a Christmas tree farm---not so much a "farm" as a makeshift dirt forest in the parking lot of a Ross Dress For Less (which, ha!, by the way, my brother Luke once saw from the window of a car and misread as Cross Dress For Less, let THAT one sink in)---and bought ourselves a tree.

And yes, we named it. Aren't you supposed to? Our tree's name is Hamish, and Hamish and I are pretty close. In fact, I spent a lot of time giving Hamish long lingering hugs---my arms wrapped around his middle to hold him steady as Sean cut the trunk---once we got him back to the house and propped him up in the corner. "I knew you wanted a Christmas tree," said Sean, snickering as I held the tree in a tight embrace, my nose inches from its prickly branches as I braced him against the saw. "But I didn't know you wanted one that much. I mean, you and that tree should just get a room."

(Oh yes, about that: Hamish didn't fit in the Christmas tree stand we'd bought at Target, which meant his trunk needed to be sawed. We don't own a saw, apparently, and so after half an hour of frustrated futzing about with the Christmas tree stand, Sean ran up to the hardware store at the top of the hill, and returned triumphantly ten minutes later with a very sharp saw indeed. With a feverish glint in his eye, he cranked up the stereo, shouted "Take that, Frenchies!" and attacked Hamish's trunk with the blade. Honestly, it was like a scene from American Pyscho in our living room. You know, if Patrick Bateman had been a tree surgeon.)

So now the tree is up, its piny-clean scent filling every room in the house, its irritating needles requiring vacuuming from the rug every time I turn my back, and my hitherto Scrooge-like boyfriend stringing little white lights with the best of them. Our ornaments are a mix of plain old 18-for-$2 glass baubles from Target and high-end candy canes currently Buy One Get One Free at Rite-Aid. "I think we probably have the only tree in the city," said Sean, "on which at least half of the ornaments are edible."

Oh, and because we are truly classy, we also have a cat in a Santa suit. No, really, you just try walking past a pet-sized Christmas costume in Target and not putting it in the cart. Sure, it meant we couldn't get the fancy laundry detergent---and I clean forgot the contact lens solution!---but hot damn, if that Santa suit wasn't the best ten bucks we ever spent. Next year, we probably don't even need the tree.

Dec 10, 2007

Holly, I laughed so hard when I saw Sadie! You totally need to send it in to icanhascheezburger with Santa Claws..... I iz him, underneath! Hahha! Hmm I wonder if we can get one for Daisy!!

Dec 10, 2007

now *that's* a jolly looking Santa!

Dec 10, 2007

I'm pretty sure that no Christmas tree anywhere ever fit into the stand anyone ever bought for it at Target. There is a sinister Yuletide cabal among the tree-growers/stand manufacturers/saw sellers.

Dec 10, 2007

Oh my. Too, too precious. And from what I can see of the tree it looks lovely!

Dec 10, 2007

Honestly? I thought I was the only person who used the term 'futzing' in everyday conversation. :)

We will be heading up to NY for Christmas on the 20th/21st and we also got a real tree for our home in NC. It's tradition!

Heather B.
Dec 10, 2007

You cat looks far more cooperative than my cat. Which tried to bite off my hand when shown his santa hat. Looking cute is so not a good reason to lose a finger.

Dec 10, 2007

Does your cat *always* look that pissed?

Dec 10, 2007

Does your cat *always* look that pissed?

Dec 10, 2007

Hmmm. No, that was barely worth posting once--how did it get up there twice?

Dec 10, 2007

This is yet another reason why we need a Target in Canada.

Dec 10, 2007

I'm so glad you went and actually cut down your own tree. That is one of my favorite Christmas traditions! Also, your cat is freakin' adorable! I can't believe she let you put that on her. How long did it stay on?

Nothing But Bonfires
Dec 10, 2007

Jess, we didn't cut down our own tree, I'm afraid -- someone had already cut it down and displayed it in the parking lot of Cross Dress For Less with a bunch of other trees. We just paid for it.

Dec 10, 2007

This is just the sort of thing I'd do to my cat, if I had one. You should use the pictures as Christmas cards.

Dec 10, 2007

This is my gf and my 6th Christmas together and we have yet to spend one actually together either, but we have a tree every year.

Dec 10, 2007

I spent a fair amount of time hugging our tree too. I named him Frank.

She Likes Purple
Dec 10, 2007

Was there any thrashing when you put the costume on? From the look on his face, it's as if he absolutely hates it but didn't have the heart to tell you.

Dec 10, 2007

I felt similarly when I purchased a bumble bee costume from Target for my beagle at Halloween. It was a tremendous use of ten dollars. Now I would not have the jingle bells to try and put it on one of my cats ( I value my digits).

Dec 10, 2007

You should check out Half Moon Bay, 30 miles south of SF next year...Great little surfer town filled with Christmas tree and pumpkin farms! :)

Nothing But Bonfires
Dec 10, 2007

No, she actually didn't mind it at all -- no thrashing or anything. In fact, we suspect she rather liked it. Next we're going to be saying "alright, you can put your costume on, but only if you promise not to pee in the tub for the next two months, okay? Deal?"

Operation Pink Herring
Dec 10, 2007

I totally agree with your view on the tree (I also changed my tune as soon as we got it in the door) and more importantly, on the cat santa suit. My cat does not look quite as happy as Sadie when he wears his... which makes it even funnier.

Dec 10, 2007

kitty! so damn cute! i must pop over to target at the lunch hour and pick on up for my Moo.

Dec 10, 2007

If looks could kill...

I think Sadie has a bad case of the Twist Mouth.

Dec 10, 2007

Lovely story...your first tree together is something special;) Now just do the rest of us a favor and have the most adorable wedding of all time please:) Love the cat outfit, ours has a Christmas HAT but not a whole outfit!! Enjoy Hamish,love.

Dec 10, 2007

Delurking to say that I agree with the commenter above; that is a really sweet story!

Also: I have been reading your blog for about a month now, and have been enjoying it so much I started reading your archives. I know I am late to the party, here, but I have to share that I, too, have been to Toys R' Us the week before Christmas to buy a Magic 8 Ball (for my MOTHER) and really felt your pain on that post.

More importantly, I had just seen this when I read about your adventure with the "Days of the Week Knickers" and felt I had to pass it on. Maybe if Williams Sonoma doesn't work out?

In any event: you have a great blog & a seriously cute santa cat; I hope your Christmas is wonderful.

Dec 10, 2007

My brother's new girlfriend says that colored Christmas lights are "white trashy" and that she will only tolerate white lights. I say she's a snob. But am I wrong here? Your tree looks pretty even without colored lights.
The best $10 Christmas impulse buy I made this year was a cross-eyed, dancing penguin that sings "Christmas in Hollis" by Run DMC. I love him SO MUCH.
I, too, have only recently arrived at the nothingbutbonfires party, but I'm so glad I came. Love your blog!

Dec 10, 2007

I have a very similar photo of my cat... the looks on her face seems to say... fine embarass me if you will but don't complain next time I wake you up at 2am to play.

Dec 11, 2007

My fiance and I just got our first tree this year even though we're always out of town at Christmas. It's kind of sad and small and decorated with ornaments from the 99c store--but I love it!

Dec 11, 2007

SQUEEEEE!!!!!! I think I almost fainted from the adorableness of your cat! It is so cute in that outfit - he/she almost looks like a stuffed kitty!

gina in sc
Dec 11, 2007

someone beat me to "your cat looks pissed" but i second that !!


when i lived in San Francisco, i dragged/drug? wth? a tree from the grocery store parking lot 2 blocks to my apartment and up three flights of stairs. was my boyfriend impressed!! he was so happy he wasnt there to help schlep it...

Mary Dawn
Dec 11, 2007

the kitty looks so demoralized...or maybe bored...she's probably thinking "they'll be gone by the 21st and i can kill the tree then"

Dec 11, 2007

Sadie is Santa Paws! How cute. I'm totally with Sean on the tree! We spend the holidays with my family in Oregon so no tree for us. I'm too tired to lug one home and drag out all the ornaments. Maybe next year! But enjoy your tree and your decorations and, of course, your holidays!

Dec 11, 2007

I don't know. But I think your cat has got the "come hither" look down pretty well.

Also, make sure to add either 7-up or sugar water to your tree to make it last longer! (even though you're leaving in 10 days.)

Sean's mom
Dec 11, 2007

Sadie's look is very familiar. The last time I saw that look was when we took her to the vet for her pedicure. Not happy. Thank you so much for the picture of Sadie, my how she has grown. By the way, this is not Charlie and Sadie's first tree. They loved the one last year too, very, very much. But they did not climb it or knock it down, but they were not alone with it either. Does this mean that Sean will want some of the ornaments now?

Dec 11, 2007

Oh Holly, we have so much in common. I saw that Santa costume at Target and was so pissed they didn't make one for a 70-pound German shepherd. Instead I got her the elf hat and collar, and had to extend the collar with extra velcro, because for some reason a "large" in dog costumes is only suited for dogs up to 30 pounds. We haven't taken her picture in it yet, because she takes off the hat as soon as I put it on her. I had such high hopes after she kept her Snow White costume on all day on Halloween.

Also, Rob and I have only spent one Christmas together, and I'm totally fine with leaving him here while I go to my mom's. Someone's got to watch the dog.

She Likes Purple
Dec 11, 2007

Holly, I'm sorry for calling her "he." I imagine that, and not the costume, had her rightly pissed off. We dress our dog up all the time and she loves it too. She even lifts her legs up to assist in the process of sticking them through arm holes. She's so much like her momma.

Dec 11, 2007

Great post, I love reading your blog! Merry Christmas!

Dec 11, 2007

Awww, I love this post. This is my first year with a real Christmas tree too, because like you, I've never spent actual Christmas day with my fella because we're always with our respective families. But this year, we went and cut down our own and it is the most loved Christmas tree ever (except maybe for Hamish.)

Dec 11, 2007

The cat looks so pleased. Haha!

Dec 12, 2007

The Powers That Be should definitely create a suggested anniversary present for the ninety kajillioneth year. And it should be (Christmas) lights.

(Why aren't there ever any "light" anniversaries? Oh, the possibilities.)

Dec 12, 2007

I want a Santa suited feline! (Note to self - 1. Acquire feline 2. Acquire Santa Suit 3. Don't forget the contact solution!)

Dec 12, 2007

I'm really impressed. Sadie is actually posing. You must have super cat wrangling powers. Eddy did not react well to the lion hat. The elf hat went over a little bit better but he was eating treats at the time. The minute he stopped stuffing his face, the hat ended up underneath his chin while he tried to pull it off.

I cannot walk down the cat aisle at Target without buying him something.

Dec 14, 2007

I have my first ever tree this year too. And though in a different city half of my tree is edible too. Did you know they sell chocolate ornaments at Cost Plus World Market? It is the coolest. You can have dinner and then a chocolate right off the tree for dessert.

Dec 14, 2007

Cross Dress for Less. I love that! It's totally going into our family lexicon! Right along with Crapplebee's and Pooplantation and their ilk.

I love the Santa suit and I can't believe your cat tolerates it. If I tried to put clothes on my Basenjis, first they would remove them, then they would eat them, then they would shit on my carpet. And then possibly bite me.

Dec 15, 2007

I love it! We have a Santa suit for the pupster, but not the kitkat. Though I do enjoy putting the antler headpiece on him for giggles (him, not so much!)

Dec 16, 2007

My boyfriend and I don't have a Christmas tree of our own, but for the past two years he's come over to help me set up my family's tree (my parents like having a daughter no longer on the wrong side of 18 who they can outsource things to).

And the pictures of your cat go on the list of "Reasons I should get a cat" :) I wonder whether Singapore has cat santa suits that I can get.