Holiday season an exhausting time

By Glenda Price: CNJ columnist

I’ve known since last January that Christmas would be Dec. 25.

So why can’t I prepare ahead of time?

Earlier this month it occurred to me I probably should do something about a tree, so I went to the local garden store. They had a gazillion trees, all set up in pots of water and smelling really good. My daughter and I picked one out, and the guy loaded it in my vehicle.

Did I need a stand for it, he wanted to know? I said, no, I was sure I had one. At home we searched the garage — and found a stand. It’s a good one. You can put water in it and supposedly keep your tree fresh.

That tree is about 6 feet tall, it turns out. Strange, it looked smaller outdoors at the garden store. It’s heavy, too.

We dragged it into the living room, put the butt end in the water bucket deal, stood it up — and it promptly fell over.

Right here I must admit I have no clue how such things work — or are supposed to work. The politically correct term is “mechanically challenged,” but it’s really “ignorance about managing inanimate objects.”

A dozen tries later I was exhausted, so I told that tree, “OK, don’t stand up then.” And I left it sprawled across the living room floor. For two days I tried to ignore that darn tree, but there’s not much way around it. Plus, it really does smell good.

By then my daughter began asking, “Where are we gonna put the gifts — if we get a chance to go buy any?”

She had a point, so I went to my local friendly hardware store and told them my troubles. They figured it out right away. They said the trunk should go all the way to the bottom of that water bucket deal, and I didn’t prune off those lower branches so it would fit.

They sold me what they called a “lopper.” I lopped those branches off, the trunk went into the bucket all the way to the bottom, I tightened the screws around the edges, stood it up — and it stayed standing.

I’m so proud. By this time, Christmas was uncomfortably close, so we shifted our bodies into high gear and overdrive, found the lights and ornaments and got to work. My daughter, it turns out, was the one who put the lights away last year, and they were neatly coiled like a catch rope with a tie across the end.

What a girl.

Next was the shopping, my all-time unfavorite activity. I mostly took the “chicken” way out and purchased gift cards.

The food? There are establishments set up specifically for non-Suzie Homemaker types like me. They plan the menu and even cook it for you. Yes!

Now we can sing Christmas songs beside that good-smelling — standing — tree, thankful for the Holy event we’re celebrating.