We had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Scott, Sasso, and I piled into our little red car and drove up to a northern suburb of Washington DC, to spend a few days with some friends, Jeannette and Daniel.
Taking Sasso was not part of the plan. We were going to board her, but she developed kennel cough the day before we left (too much intimacy with other dogs at daycare!). Jeannette and Daniel–but especially Jeannette, who is allergic to dogs–were extraordinarily gracious in letting us bring Sasso. We worked out a plan to keep Sasso cordoned off in certain parts of the house to avoid her dander seeping into all the nooks and crannies. This suited Sasso just fine, because it allowed her to hide when she wanted.
We spent three days eating, drinking, and laughing, broken up by long strolls through a nearby park. (I was so busy, what with the food and fun and all, that I forgot to take any other pictures!) Luckily Jeannette did not react badly to Sasso (thanks to four years of allergy shots, Sasso’s bath in dander-reducing shampoo, or maybe divine intervention), and Sasso gradually opened up and accepted Jeannette and Daniel as part of the family. By our last night there, Sasso was able and willing to join us all in the living room for a movie night. Then we drove home, and Scott headed off again for a conference early the next morning. After spending several luxurious days with Scott, Sasso, and other good friends all in the same place, I woke up that morning feeling a little lonely.
Usually, if I decorate for Christmas at all, I’ll wait until the middle of December. But I decided that if I made the house look festive, I would feel festive. Who isn’t cheerier after seeing some LEDs twinkle in the darkness?
So I researched Christmas tree farms in the area. I have always loved the smell of a good Fraser fir and was determined to find one, and to snap some nice photos if I had the opportunity. That kind of trip would be a great addition to this blog!
I stopped at Lowe’s on the way out of Chapel Hill to pick up some lights. I poked around the massive selection, puzzling over the difference between C-5 and C-9 bulbs, and when I turned around I saw it: my Christmas tree!
Not a Fraser fir, but a Majesty Palm.
In my pre-dog days, I had a weakness for picking up defenseless houseplants and taking them under my wing; my office in DC looked like it had been swallowed by the jungle. When we adopted Sasso, we gave away a giant, gorgeous dieffenbachia to protect our little girl, and I have been meaning to replace it with a plant that is not toxic to dogs since then.
Why exactly did I drop my ambition to find a farm-fresh Fraser fir at the first sight of that palm tree? Was it practicality, the chance to save money by making one purchase instead of two? (Ha, that seems unlikely.) Was it laziness, because the tree farm suddenly seemed far away (most of the way to Raleigh!)? Was I feeling guilty about wanting to cut down a living tree to decorate my living room? Or was it that I simply fell in love with that palm tree, without reason or calculation, as I have with so many plants (and at least one puppy) before?
I brought the palm tree home, repotted it, and started decorating everything else–it didn’t seem fair to decorate the palm tree the same day I repotted it. How much change can one plant take?
I threaded lights around the top railing on the deck. I carved snowflakes out of boring old office paper to hang on our fireplace. I hung even more snowflakes, ones I crocheted a few years ago, on the old Norfolk Island pine tree* in my office. Two days later I received LED candles to brighten up our defunct fireplace . . . and I finally finished up, draping a string of colored lights like a mantle around the Majesty Palm.
Cheerier and more festive? Definitely.
*Why not just decorate the Norfolk Island pine, you ask? (1) It’s dying, and that’s just sad. (2) It’s toxic to dogs, so has to be shut away in my office behind a door when Sasso’s alone. (3) Wouldn’t you want a Christmas tree in your home office if you worked from home too?