The Scamp and a Christmas Tree

Christmas is in three days.

This year I was able to buy Christmas presents for everyone without making my credit card cry. That’s huge for me. It has been about four years since I was able to do that.

It feels pretty darn good.

Earlier in the week I got to partake in one of my favorite traditions: decorating the Wilder-Davis House of Chaos Christmas Tree. I do it every year, and it is something that I almost gave up (2013 Christmas Tree). I love decorating the tree. I have a routine: I untangle and string the lights; I find all of my favorite ornaments, and make sure that mine are displayed in the front of the tree, and that there are a good representation of everyone on the tree. This year, my brother and I picked out the tree (because he doesn’t trust me to drive his truck), and I decorated it while watching a Newsroom marathon.

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My 93 year old grandpa enjoying the Davis tree at the annual Davis Family Christmas

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The Wilder-Davis tree. You’ll notice all of the penguins, Dr. Seuss, and cat ornaments on the tree.

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The Grinch tree topper. He used to sing, but the cat tried to eat him one year, so he is now silent.

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This is the best ornament on the tree. It is a little red suitcase that matches the big red suitcase that take on all of my adventures.

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Every year I think about not packing this one in a box and hanging it in my room.

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I love this one. It is a small snapshot of our life in 1995. It was handmade at Knott’s Berry Farm, and has all of our names, plus, my kitty Simon, my rabbit Bun, and Kelly’s cat Socks. This one goes on the tree every year.

The kitties have been drinking out of the tree stand, but so far, the only ornament that has been broken was one that I dropped, and not one that the kitties were playing with. That is a major step up from the four that we lost last year. The one armed Barbie ornament just looks sad now.

This is one of the first times in a long time that I do not have papers to write, presentations to prepare, or papers to graded. I’m excited to have a few days off to watch Christmas movies on Lifetime, cook meals with my brother, and torment my sister about wrapping presents.

The Scamp and a Christmas Tree

I’m procrastinating.  I have a final in 2 days, and I can barely focus on the outlines, notes , and other materials I have compiled to aid in my studies. I know that I should be locked in my office, blocking out the noise of my parents and really focusing on the study material, but I am still bone deep tired and weary, so it makes it hard not to fall asleep in the middle of the California Master Plan. I’m stretched out on my couch (a couch that I tend to fall asleep on more often than not), and I have the nasally rant of Adam Carolla in the background to comfort me while I try to figure out how I am going to remember the difference between SB 1440 and SB 440, and how the Student Success Act of 2012 actually helps students. The ranting doesn’t help with any of that, but since my own rant on why this is pointless is not going to help, I will find solace in someone else’s problems.

To further help my procrastination, I decorated the Wilder-Davis House of Chaos Christmas tree. For the last ten years it has been my job to string the lights, pull out everyone’s favorite ornaments, and make sure the tree is decorated in such a way that the kitties cannot get to any of them. This year I was home alone when I decorated the tree, and even though I chose the exact moment to decorate in order to put off studying, decorating the tree this year was really important to me.

Last year at this time I faced the possibility of not being able to decorate a tree ever again. He who shall not be named is a strict conservative Jew, and his mother was completely against the idea of a Christmas tree in the household during this time of year (completely disregarding the fact that the tree is a pagan tradition and has nothing to do with Christ, and that my Christmas ornaments are not Nativity scenes or little baby Jesuses). At this time last year, the rat and I were discussing traditions that we would have as a family, and how we would divide our time between families. His mom’s birthday is on December 25th, so that day was always going to be spent with her, no matter what I had to say about it. I was fine with that for the most part since my family has been celebrating on the 24th, but I was sad about having to give up the tradition of going to the movies and having popcorn for dinner. He informed me that there would be no Christmas tree, and that his kids would not partake in Christmas related activities. His kids would be Jewish, and a Christmas tree is not Jewish.

I was raised Jewish. I consider myself to be Jewish (although I am by no means a good Jew or very religious). My dad (and my biological father for that matter) are not Jewish. Neither is overly religious, but they celebrate Christmas, so we have always had a Christmas tree in the house at Christmas time. It is how I grew up. It is not a religious symbol, and it basically becomes a little mini forest for the cats to sleep under. I like the tradition, and I was looking forward to it no matter where I lived. When he took it off the table, it hurt me. This was an argument for weeks. I cried on a date in the middle of San Francisco.  I ultimately one the debate because I asked what else I was going to have to give up to be with him. I was already giving up school in Scotland, living in a place other than San Diego, and my family tradition on Christmas day, and I wasn’t sure I could give up one more thing. He only agreed to end the argument.

Right after we broke up, the only thing I could think about was that I would get to have my Christmas tree. I would get to have my family traditions, and I no longer had to give up things that I enjoyed to be with someone. It seems silly, a pine tree decorated with lights and funny ornaments from places we’ve traveled, or representing interests and hobbies. This tree is a small victory. While I decorated the tree this afternoon I thought about all of the other small victories I had this year. I have been extremely lucky, even with the sucky bits, and this tree is a small victory that I get to stare at while I lay on my couch and try to muster some energy to study for my final. I may be tired, but the multicolored lights and Scooby Doo ornaments are there to remind me of how lucky I am.

Bring on the education legislation. I’ve got my Christmas tree.