Dear Jack: Decorating the Christmas Tree

10 years.

Dear Jack,

I think it was you who was most excited about putting up the Christmas tree this year. Granted, as Mommy pointed out, we have a ridiculously small tree for a family of four.

But still, it’s still big enough to (barely) fit all the ornaments we’ve collected together as a family.

You were so proud to be able to help me, as I had to climb up into the attic to bring down on the Christmas decorations.

Notably, our Christmas tree is mainly weighed down by all the ornaments you’ve made over the years.

Your sister has some catching up to do!



Dear Jack: We Put Up Our “Clip-On Tie” Christmas Tree on October 25th

4 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack: We Put Up Our “Clip-On Tie” Christmas Tree on October 25th

Dear Jack,

This past weekend, exactly two months before Christmas, our family bought our first official artificial Christmas tree. I call in our “clip-on tie” Christmas tree.

I am very pleased with it. Not only did we only pay $30 for it by the time we used our Lowe’s coupon, but the tree came pre-lit!

It’s no secret that while I am gifted in the creative department, I am completely bankrupt when it comes to mechanical skills.

But there was nothing complicated about assembling this tree. I just took it out of the box and stuck it in its stand.

The tree came in two halves with a connected cord for the lights. So I just simply spread out the twigs like a fan and was done.

In the 7 years Mommy and I have been married, we never really bothered to get a little Christmas tree since we lived in a townhouse and opened the presents at Nonna and Papa’s house anyway.

<!-- Beacon Ads Zone Code -->
id="bsap_1304001" class="bsarocks bsap_2762c1f18538f39329b1ab66498c456d">
<!-- End Beacon Ads Zone Code -->

Things changed this year, though. We have our own real house.

Romantically Mommy and I liked the idea of a real tree, but Mommy didn’t like the idea of the mess it would bring in our new house, and I didn’t like the idea of having to set it up.

So a 4 and a half foot tall “clip-on” tie version of a Christmas tree ended up being the perfect fit for our family.

As I was taking care of the tree, Mommy was wrapping the gifts for our extended family, while listening to traditional Christmas music on YouTube.

Christmas is about 2 months away, but our tree is up and the gifts are bought and wrapped.

With all the inevitable upcoming holiday clichés, like “the hustle and bustle of Christmas,” this is our family’s attempt to get ahead of the stress.

We are ready for Christmas!



Strange But True Stories in Fort Payne, AL: My Christmas Tree Reappeared in My Driveway Yesterday; A Month and a Half after I Threw It to the Curb

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, you’re kinda freaking me out.

Like most responsible people, around January 3rd I took my live Christmas tree out to the driveway where the trash is picked up.  Strangely, it was gone within a couple of hours, though the garbage men didn’t come that day.  Then yesterday afternoon as we were pulling out of the driveway, my wife shouted, “Hey!  Is that our Christmas tree in our driveway next to the mailbox?”  She was right.  And even as I write this, it remains in the driveway next to the mailbox.  At this point, I’m curious to see if it magically disappears again.

How can I be positive that it indeed is the same Christmas tree that was in our house?  Fortunately, I have well documented the process of getting the tree in this “dad from day one” post.  You can clearly see it is the same shape; and also, the way the very top of the tree is sort of broken off makes it obvious this is the same tree.  I highly encourage you to click that link above if you haven’t already, just to compare the pictures.

One of the weirdest parts of the story is that both when the tree disappeared, then reappeared, it was in broad daylight in normal weather.

So what are some possible explanations?  Here’s the best I can do:

1) The wind blew it out of sight for several weeks.  Then the wind coincidentally blew it right back in our driveway.  The thing is, this tree is solid enough that it would take a severe thunderstorm/small tornado to lift it off the ground- both times.  There has been snow, but definitely no strong enough winds to move the tree twice.

2)  Someone is playing a prank.  A person who has too much time on their hands during the daytime came in a pickup truck and deliberately did this.  As far as I am aware, I don’t know of any person who fits that description.

3)  A wild animal did it.  No dog would be strong enough to drag the tree away.  Unless it was Bigfoot.

I firmly believe that I will never know how this happened.  Forever a mystery.

dad from day one: Lumber Jack and the Great Christmas Tree Farm

Week 4.

I never had a real Christmas tree growing up-  my family always had a nice plastic one. But my wife always had a real tree; so this year, we decided to started a new tradition in our Shell household: Go to the Christmas tree farm and get a real tree, Charlie Brown.  So we drove 13 miles (two cities away) to a place called Shiloh and pulled into the gravel parking lot of “Down on the Farm”.

Right away we were met by the owner who welcomed us then said, “Just those few trees you see right there is all we’ve got left.”  I explained to him that we were just there to get a “Charlie Brown Christmas tree” for our new son.  The man gave me a handsaw and told me to drive my Element down the dirt road behind his farm and cut down the tree we wanted.  Before beginning our brief journey to find the perfect Christmas tree for a baby, I asked the man how much the tree would cost us.  He replied, “If it’s for that little baby boy you got there, it won’t cost you a thing.”

So thanks to Baby Jack and the friendly man at the Christmas tree farm, the new tradition has begun for Jack’s first Christmas: Not a tradition of having a full size tree each tree, but instead we decided to always have a small tree.  It’s just more fun.  We’ll leave the full size Christmas tree up the rest of the family.  It’s a great Christmas, Baby Jack.