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.

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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!

Love,

Daddy

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.

Screen Door on an Open Mind

I think, therefore I am open-minded.

Before, I always thought that being open-minded meant I would personally accept any new idea that came along, so I distanced myself from the phrase. “Open-minded” was a description for a person with no backbone, so flaky regarding their worldview that they would accept anything fully; never really being able to believe in any certain deity whom they could actually know personally, because being open-minded meant they believed “God is in the trees and the wind and the animals and in all of us”.

But somewhere in between never adopting solid personal beliefs and being so unchangeably stubborn because “this is the way it’s always been done and I ain’t changin’ now” is a balance. I’ve come to realize that while there are certain things I am rock solid on, there are other aspects that I was wrong or misinformed about before. For example, in recent years regarding the relationship between my religious and political beliefs, I have definitely become more conservative on certain issues and more liberal on others. Yet I still know what I stand for.

Being open-minded means living a paradox. It means a person has confirmed the Big Stuff (a moral code, religion, etc.) but is open to the millions of things that don’t necessarily go against what is set in stone. And while people everyday are still sorting out the Big Stuff, there should come a certain point for everyone where they actually decide on something. It’s a necessary rite of passage that makes us who we are.

Speaking of a word that many often keep a distance from: faith. It’s amazing how there’s no escaping from needing to have faith in something. Whether it’s faith in no god, a god, science, tradition or “don’t know, don’t care”, people make their decision even in their indecision.

I have figured out the Big Stuff for me. Other than that, I’m learning the rest everyday. The door of my mind is open, though the screen in front of it is secured in place.

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” –traditional proverb

Comfortable Friday


 

Of all people, I should appreciate the quirky American tradition so many offices participate in once a week called Casual Friday.  After four hard days of working while dressed in a restricting long sleeve shirt, tie, and pants (or at least a polo shirt and khakis), the dress code nearly disappears on the 5th day.  Jeans, t-shirt, and flip flops are completely acceptable.  Goofy.  Just plain goofy.


 

The whole idea behind dressing professionally for work is to establish a mentality for the workers to act the way they dress. It also helps draw lines between superiors and those who answer to them, as managers and bosses tend to dress a little nicer, accordingly. But then that all goes away on Friday.  The playing field is leveled out, according to appearance.


 

If the way a person dresses does indeed reflect their initiative and performance at work, why play around with that once a week?  The answer:  It must not really make a difference.  Often, Friday is my most productive day of the week.  And I’m dressed like it’s Saturday morning.


 

Last week’s rerun of The Office addressed some of the tackiness that often accompanies Casual Friday.  Meredith’s lack of clothes, Oscar’s nasty feet, and Toby’s clashing colors.  It just makes me laugh: the double standard of dressing professionally for 80% of the work week and dressing like a slouch for the other 20% of it.


 

Typically on Fridays I wear my comfortable, worn-in/worn-out jeans (circa 2002 so they’re that light shade of blue that used to be the standard), along with a comfortable t-shirt (usually something I got for free from an event I participated in during 2002 and should now only be wearing to wash a car or do yard work in) and my 2002 Etnie skate shoes I wear not because I skate, but because they’re so comfortable- I refer to them as my Marshmallow Shoes because they’re so soft and cushioned.  The obvious recurring theme: clothing from the year 2002.  The other obvious recurring theme: comfortable.


 

Casual Friday is really Comfortable Friday.  If I dressed casually on Fridays, I would wear slimmer fitting darker jeans, an untucked collared shirt, and sneakers.  But I don’t.  And while I call it Comfortable Friday, “comfortable” can easily become a synonym for “sloppy”.  Sloppy is in the same word family as “slob”.  Slob Friday.  But I’m not complaining.  Some people like to play dress up to look and feel important at work.  For the rest of us, there’s Friday.


casual Friday