It is a testament to my conniving ways that, once again, I have a Christmas Tree worth bragging about in my living room. And it took me all of 30 seconds to add the finishing touch, the angel atop the tree. The rest of the work? All done by the junior members of my extended family.
The Christmas Tree Raising Ceremony was a bit special this year in that A.J. rejoined the Movie Mob for the first time since 2008. He's turning 18 in about six weeks and getting a bit smarter each year. Sooner or later, he's going to realize that he and his workmates do all the raising part, while I sit back and steal all the thunder with my angel at the end of a grasping stick routine. Still it was awfully nice to have him back.
His sister, Angela, is the ringleader of what is left of the Movie Mob, which over the years has included about nine different kids at various times. In the early years, I had to bribe the young'uns with food and a movie to do all the work, come Tree Raising Ceremony time. These days, the actually believe it's fun and no bribes necessary. Heck, Angela even roped in her best friend Megan a few years back and the newest member of the Mob finished her fourth tree Thursday night.
Each year, each kid got money to buy a single ornament. And from the first three has grown a tree regularly festooned with all kinds of interesting balls and baubles, from tiny little fake lights (NO electricity allowed near my tree) to gigantic ornaments that could double for a disco ball in a pinch. That one hides the 'hole' that makes itself evident in my artificial tree. Throw on a bunch of hand-made ornaments that date back to the turn of the century and the first tree, some strings of beads and festive, feathery boas plus the re-introduction of tinsel this year and you get a tree that is ALMOST completely full.
Still has lots of places for my various Montreal Canadiens themed ornaments, a yearly gift from A.J. and Angela's parents. The final result is perfect.
You'll have to take my word. Just look at the grins on the faces of, respectively from left to right, Angela, Megan and A.J.
Last year, the tree stayed up until almost Easter, awaiting all the various members of my family to beat a path to my door and see it. Until then, I saw no reason to take it down. I'm hoping that it can come down a little quicker this year. But if it makes to Easter or even my mid-summer birthday, so what?
It really is a pretty sight.