Alert “06880” reader Scott Smith read the recent post about our 1st-ever Christmas decorations contest, and sends this along:
At least in our humble neighborhood, the season seems to be proceeding as usual, which is always a welcome sight.
My across-the-street neighbors decorate for all the holidays, and this year as before Jean Luc and Claire have all the trimmings, from candles, wreaths and strings of lights, to the dogwood tree decked out with glass ornaments.
Across the way, as usual my neighbor Craig set out his pair of lit-up deer fashioned from wicker frames (as if we need any more deer on our lawns). Only this year, he couldn’t find the ears that attach to the deer; I told him now they look more like Christmas goats.
I set my own front porch ablaze with a row of those white dangling lights that drop down like so many icicles. More bang for the square foot, I figure.
So, situation normal, seems to me. Except for one change inside our house. This year we have an upside-down Christmas tree.
Scott Smith's Christmas tree
It was just a thought a December ago — our living room is so small, I recall musing, we should have a tree that’s wide at the ceiling and narrow at the floor. That way we wouldn’t have to move the sofa to see the TV.
Or maybe I got the idea after the puppy we got for last Christmas chased one of our cats up into the tree, with predictable results. Most of the subsequent joking was directed at me, for even thinking of such a topsy-turvy notion.
Next year, I said. Further musings foundered on the sticky problems associated with actually hanging a tree from the ceiling.
Then a couple weeks ago my son came home from middle school and told me, “We’re doing the upside-down tree this year, right, Dad? ‘Cause I kinda told people at school we were doing it…” As I’m already a total embarrassment to him, that settled it. “For sure,” I said.
This year's Christmas visitor to the Smith home.
I’ll leave out the particulars — though I will mention they involve hole drilling, much consultations with neighbors, toggle bolts, eye hooks and an as-yet-to-be-patented water-drip system that mostly waters the floor. But the tree is up, I mean down — and it is a delight.
For one, it turned out to be surprisingly easy to decorate. You can spin it, which made stringing the lights a breeze, and the ornaments dangle nicely from up under the branches, giving the tree the feel of a cocoon. In truth, it’s like one big ornament itself.
The tree, a rangy white spruce, was fresh cut from the CT Audubon Society’s Christmas Tree Farm off Sasco Creek Road, which is one of the town’s best little-known places. Selecting and sawing down a tree that’s just right is a big part of any holiday, and this year more than ever. To be truthful, most trees don’t look so good upside down, especially those that have been groomed like a poodle and trussed up in a plastic fir-net for a few weeks.
How ours looks depends on your perspective. One of my son’s neighborhood chums asked very earnestly, “So, how are you going to get the presents to stick on the ceiling?”
That’s my Christmas story. I’m not trying to make a statement, at least one that I know of. I like tradition as much as most Westporters, and like seeing things in this season of lights and glad tidings as they always are. Saugatuck Bridge; that tree on North Avenue. All the personal little statements of faith and community you see driving around town.
Only sometimes I guess it’s nice to change things up. Or down. Or whatever.
All the same, happy holidays!