Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree … How did you get so smelly?

Stinkmas Tree

I like to put off for as long as possible the throwing away of the Christmas tree — both because I love the way it looks, all colorful and aglow … and because I like putting things off for as long as possible.

Left to my own devices, my lack of Christmas-tree-disposal enthusiasm can sometimes result in the transformation of a Christmas tree into a Cinco de Mayo tree … but my hand was forced this year — which is how the tree came to be planted in a snowbank a week ago yesterday.

“We have to get that tree out of here,” Wonder Woman said to me a couple days prior to the tree’s eventual eviction. “It’s starting to stink.”

I, too, detected a foul odor … but nowhere in my memory bank of 40 or so Christmases could I locate a single instance of a Christmas tree emitting a foul odor, regardless of how bone dry and decrepit it had become.

“That’s not the tree,” I said scornfully. “There’s gotta be a piece of food under the couch … or a body … or something,” I added, without actually looking for whatever was producing the smell … because I’m helpful like that.

A day or two later, however, the smell had become, shall we say, more pronounced, and damned if it wasn’t coming from the Christmas tree. (Quick note to temper the excitement of those among you who may be hoping for a punchline involving a long-dead animal decomposing in the tree: it ain’t that good. Sorry. Also: I can’t be the only person who thought of that, right?)

In addition to procrastinating about things like Christmas-tree removal, I also have a tendency to pick the most inopportune of moments to finally tackle such a task … like, say, late afternoon on a Tuesday when Wonder Woman is at work and my two on-the-verge-of-a-meltdown children are in my sole care.

But, hey, I knew it would only take a moment to lift the tree from the base, place it in the ever-so-helpful-and-convenient Christmas-tree bag (thereby eliminating the need for any kind of major pine-needle cleanup) and whisk it oh-so-easily down to the curb.

Of course, I couldn’t find the ever-so-helpful-and-convenient Christmas-tree bag, which had been in the basement since last Christmas, and which I’d seen and/or moved on a handful of occasions throughout the year, so I know we had one … and I know it’ll turn up again in, say, June … which is why I won’t buy a new one come next Christmas, because I’ll remember having seen it over the summer … but then the Gremlins will hide it once more, and the cycle will start anew. Which reminds me: my wallet went missing about the same time as the Christmas-tree bag. Fucking Gremlins.

OK, no biggie: I figured I could mitigate the problem by placing the lower portion of the tree in a heavy-duty, contractor-grade Hefty bag.

Note for the Gremlin-plagued masses who can’t find their ever-so-helpful-and-convenient Christmas-tree bags, and who are contemplating mitigating the problem by placing the lower portion of their trees in heavy-duty, contractor-grade Hefty bags: there’s a reason Hefty doesn’t advertise the bag in question as being useful for disposing of Christmas trees, and that reason is that it totally isn’t.

At that moment, a calmer, more well-thought-out and level-headed person would have postponed the Christmas-tree removal to the following day, with the intention of first procuring a new, ever-so-helpful-and-convenient Christmas-tree bag. Please keep in mind, however, that I am infinitely capable of being neither calm, nor well-thought-out, nor level-headed. Please also keep in mind that the tree stank like a 10-day-old alpaca carcass in a greenhouse. There would be no waiting.

Had the tree been slightly more dried out, and had there been enough of a static shock produced when I touched it, I’m fairly certain you’d have seen the mushroom cloud from miles away when said tree exploded. Fortunately, no combustion took place … though there was a spectacular and prolonged explosion of pine needles that covered both my town and a couple of adjacent municipalities.

As I was down by the curb stripping the lights (and, indirectly, the few remaining pine needles) off of the very dead, very dry tree (which, on a more positive note, made it incredibly light and easy to carry), I glanced up at the house and noticed Zan gesticulating in the bay window and trying to mouth to me through the glass something of apparently great importance. I motioned for him to go to the front door.

“There’s an ornament in the water that the tree was in!” he hollered after opening the door.

“Alright, that’s no problem, buddy,” I assured him, unclear as to why he seemed so distressed.

When I got back inside, it seemed that removing the tree had not only failed to diminish the vile odor, but had actually amplified it.

“Look, Daddy, look!” said the kids, pointing to the red bowl of the Christmas-tree base, in which floated the decomposing remains of a reindeer ornament, the body of which had been constructed from a dog biscuit.

Now seriously, folks: of all of the places an ornament could fall, it fell through the narrow opening of the round blanket covering the Christmas-tree base and into the water, and of all of the ornaments to accomplish such an unlikely feat, the one that did so just so happened to be a perishable-food substance? You can try to convince me that the universe isn’t intentionally fucking with me, if you like, but I promise that you’d be wasting your time.

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  1. Posted January 14, 2010 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Taking down the tree is my most despised task.

    I usually hide, weeping, until it is over.
    .-= The Expatresse´s last blog ..What I Got The Spouse for Christmas =-.

  2. Posted January 14, 2010 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    PS- fake trees here now. No smell!
    .-= The Domestic Goddess´s last blog ..Yesterday Didn’t End Well =-.

  3. Posted January 14, 2010 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Funny as normal and weird place to find and ornament and out of all the ornament on the tree that is the one that takes the plunge, Tip for you next year I have done this for the last 10 years get a canvas drop cloth (paint drop cloth) pick-up the tree I bring the stand also and place on the cloth pull up the corners and hold them and the tree trunk and take outside. Drop cloth will catch most of what falls off.
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..2009 Looking Back =-.

  4. Amy
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I voted for you…again! 🙂

  5. Posted January 14, 2010 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    That’s horrible…and…that’s one reason I have a fake tree…that and the fact that my daughter is allergic to them…

    Voted for you again…and you are now at #11!!! WooHoo!!!

  6. Posted January 14, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I did my random act of kindness today and voted for you. By the way…you’ve moved up to #11!!!

  7. Posted January 14, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for reminding me why I decided to go with an artificial tree!!

  8. Posted January 14, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Ha! I think that’s seriously as funny as a creature that somehow died in the tree. I must admit, that was the punchline I was expecting.

  9. Gayle
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Stinkin’ hilarious! And now I will start on a voting campaign for Daddy… 😉

  10. Posted January 14, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I VOTED! So scared for those precious little puppies! I must say that the description of you, including your anatomy was hilarious! I guess in 2010 we need that kind of clarification! LOL!
    On another note, I think you should start a, “Not going to to that agains…”
    Somewhere on that list should be making Christmas trees out of perishable food items…just so you don’t find this happening again. (Although, I am pretty positive it was the gremlins screwing with you. They climbed that tree, searched for the perfect ornament, scurried back down the tree, under the skirt and into the water it went!) 😉
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..My Prayers are with the People of Haiti =-.

  11. Posted January 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    We found a little dead mouse under the tree a few years ago. The cat has been disappointed in Santa every year since.

  12. Posted January 14, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Of course I’ll vote for you. Yours is the only Mommy blog I read!

    You see, I’m done raising kids. Next month, all three of mine will be in their 20s (I’m only 4 years older than you.) So I drop into your Mommy Blog to see how things are going and you make me laugh. A lot.

    So yes, I’ll vote for you. And here is the only parenting advice that has stuck with me these many years; gum does not come out of hair. Period. You’re welcome.

  13. Posted January 14, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    There I voted for you. Will you please stop sending me those nasty emails
    .-= Ferngoddess´s last blog ..COOKING =-.

  14. Posted January 15, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Well, glad to know Christmas trees stink. One thing we do not have to worry about over here!
    .-= Anne´s last blog ..The Israeli Home? =-.

  15. Sonia
    Posted January 15, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    And THIS is why I skipped Christmas altogether this year. No decorations, no family, drove 4 hours to a warmer climate and enjoyed the quiet lack of chaos and hassle with my husband. AAAAAAAAAHHHHH….so THAT is what the holidays are supposed to be like.

  16. Posted January 17, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Does that mean that stringing popcorn & cranberries is out for next year?
    .-= The Football Wife´s last blog ..She Drops It Like It’s Hot… =-.

  17. Posted January 17, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    We SO need to go artificial. They don’t tell you about the Christmas aftermath.

  18. Posted January 18, 2010 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    You’re up to #9! Woo hoo! I bet you never thought you’d be able to tell your friends you’re one of the top 10 Mommy bloggers!

    I’m with Dawn in Austin. I am done raising kids, but you make me laugh, potty mouth and all. Or maybe it’s because of the potty mouth. Keep at it, Jon!
    .-= ToadMama´s last blog ..The Change is Here =-.

  19. Posted January 18, 2010 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Hey, it’s me again. I had to leave another comment because I forgot to add my new blog address. I have moved! Your blog is one of the reasons I decided to change. I love that you have a separate Photo page.
    .-= ToadMama´s last blog ..Hey, Look. A Giveaway! =-.

    Posted January 18, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Happy big 4-0 Scratchman!!!

  21. Posted January 20, 2010 at 2:47 am | Permalink

    Like your blog. Are you a stay at home dad like me? I look after our child full-time at home. We are living in Moscow Russia as my wife works here.



    BTW your email does not work.

  22. reen
    Posted January 20, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    OK, OK, I voted!

    Dismantling and packing everything up after the holidays is the WORST and I waited until last weekend too (still have to do the garlands/lights/wreaths outside…can I just wait until they disintegrate on their own??)…

  23. srqchick
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    OMG this so hit home….I’m always terrible about getting into the swing of the holiday and when I do the tree stays until it emits this wierd chemical odor…I think the natural trees are treated with a chemical….and it is so sad to pack the stuff up. Hated it as a kid hate it now….my icicle lights are still up and this is in Florida….where the day after xmas most people toss their trees….

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