True Confessions : I faked it

I admit it. I faked it. I'm shocked that I actually pulled it off.  In celebration of my sweet success, I just sequestered myself in my bedroom and burst out in Gangnam Style song and dance!

Here's the history, and what happened…

I have only the fondest of childhood memories of family sojourns to Porterville's finest Christmas tree lots to pick out thee greenest, freshest, most symmetrically perfect (Dad was a fanatic about symmetry) Christmas tree that money could buy. And then bringing it home to Success Valley and making an all-day Barringer family event out of meticulously decorating the tree, adding strand by strand of silver tinsel, just-so (Mom was a fanatic about silver tinsel being just-so).  

And then when I became a mom, I'd try to emulate those Christmas-in-Porterville days. Most of the time, I'd like to think, Chuck and I were successful in creating a Norman Rockwell-esque tree-decorating tradition for Cassidy and Julia. Well, until they got older…

Because as the  four of us grew up and older, we each had our own separate and distinct vision of the what the perfect tree was. Mine had to be a Silver Tip, no gaps; Julia's had to be tall enough; Cassidy's had to be the bushy-branched kind; and Chuck's had to be the cheapest on the lot. It became stressful.

Each year Chuck had a three-way wrestling match with himself, the tree and the stand.  After two hours of hard labor, he would ultimately emerge victorious.  And then he'd “do the lights,”  where I would inevitably gripe there were never enough, and they certainly weren't  spaced evenly! And, oh yeah, “Will you please redo the angel topper?  She's all askew!”

Then came the fun part: The hanging of the ornaments!  Cassidy, Julia and I would excitedly take over as Chuck watched on proudly.  Such fun. Such beauty. Such memories.

As the girls got older and busier, and as we all became more resolute in our opinions, I suggested that maybe we consider buying an artificial, pre-lit one, citing the fact that some of them nowadays “really look real.” Plus, I explained, it would be easier for Dad, and we wouldn't have to worry about the tree drying out and causing a fire hazard, and pine needles getting stuck in our carpet forevermore.

“Are you kidding me, Mom?!” “That is ridiculous! No way!” 

The gall of me… What was I thinking? 

About three Christmases ago,  though, a  drama unfolded in our home that will remain etched in our memories forever:  Because of our (okay, mostly my)  want/need/desire to show off all of our most magnificent ornaments on the living room side of the tree, unbeknownst to us all, it got a little lopsided…and unbalanced…and top heavy. As the Christmas music played, as we basked in the afterglow of newly-beautifully-ad

orned-Christmas-tree pride… it came crashing down into the center of the room. I honestly thought Al Qaeda had attacked Gold River. 

I screamed, Mia yelped, Julia shrieked, Cassidy gasped, and Chuck hastily grabbed a cold Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  They all retreated to their respective rooms, leaving me, alone, to rehabilitate, reshape and redecorate our sad and mangled tree.  Many an angel lost a wing or halo that night.  A couple Santas lost an appendage or two. My favorite Mercury glass five-point star became a four-pointer. Our much-loved teddy bear ornament got decapitated. Some ornaments, sadly, could not be saved.

After two days of shock recovery, we tried to make light of our mishap. We shared our sad-but-kind-of-humorous-in-retrospect story with friends and neighbors.  And I brought up, again, the possible merits of buying a fake tree.

“Mom, I swear if you do, I'll never again come home for Christmas!” “I can't believe you'd even think about it. They look sooooo cheap!”

“I bet you wouldn't even notice if we got a fake one,” I said.

“You wanna bet? We absolutely would be able to tell!”


Forward to December 2012…

Last Saturday: Cassidy came home! The second thing she did after kissing on our Mia dog was to go look at The Christmas Tree.

“What do ya think?” we queried.

“Oh, I like it a lot. It's a little skinny, though. But it looks good!”

“Didn't Dad do a great job putting on the lights?”

“Yeah! It's really pretty.”

Yesterday: Julia came home! The third thing she did after hugging our Mia dog and checking out the kissing ball she sent was to go look at The Christmas Tree.

“Oh, Mama, I LOOOOOVE it!”

I said, “I think it's one of the best ones we've ever gotten, don't you?”

“Yesssss. It looks so fresh. It's perfect!”

Well, Cackers and Juju, the joke is on you! This year's tree is artificial. It's fake. And you, my dears, couldn't even tell. You're being told the truth right this very second, on the World Wide Web. And I have a satiated, huge smile on my face right now.

(By the way, the whole neighborhood knows it's a fake. They've all been whispering behind your backs, wondering if we got busted, if you're angry, if you'll never again come home for Christmas.)

 Julia, Cassidy and this year's (fake) Christmas tree in the background.

You've. been. punked.

And Dad and I couldn't be happier.

Welcome home. It's going to be a glorious Christmas!


9 Responses to True Confessions : I faked it
  1. Becky Schultz Hall
    December 16, 2012 | 6:13 pm

    This is hilarious…..I’m making sure all my kids read this as we have received the same responses from them…Can’t wait to read your follow-up on this one..hehe
    Merry Christmas to you all!
    Love you!!

  2. Lois
    December 16, 2012 | 6:22 pm

    Had to happen, and this way s best. Merry Merry CHRISTmas to you all.


  3. jodie
    December 16, 2012 | 7:32 pm

    Okay. The latest update: I had the pleasure of reading along with Julia as she read this post. Priceless! Hilarious! Made…my…day. :) And FYI: The pic of the girls with the tree in the background was taken on their iPhone and does not do it justice. It looks wimpy in the pic, but it’s not. Eh…maybe a little on the skinny side. Stop by and see our beautiful tree in person!

    I have fresh, just-picked, REAL cedar garland, so the house still smells divine and CHRISTmas-y. :)

    • Darci Bauer
      December 19, 2012 | 7:08 am

      I love this story! Will you help me get a tree of next year? Miss you guys. I hope we can see you over the holiday. Love you all

  4. Krista
    December 17, 2012 | 2:18 am

    Welcome to the artificial tree club. They look amazing…….Your story is just what I needed…! It has been an emotional week/weekend tears & all….. but this just made it all better. Funny funny story….! I wish you & family an amazing stress free, beautiful fake tree, Christmas! The best part is taking it down and simply storing it until this time next year…Keep writing Jodie…..!Blessings to all!!!!!

  5. Diane Bertsch
    December 17, 2012 | 11:22 am

    Sad to say, I caved last year. But it’s so eco! Saving trees, no burning in dumps, a real repurpose, reuse situation. Sustainability. Have I gone to the “other” side? Help me back over the fence, girlfriend! Fun blog! See you soon. xxoo

  6. zo
    December 19, 2012 | 11:22 am

    OMG, I hope the girls recover from your deceit. I love it. I remember the quest for the perfect tree in Porterville. I loved the Christmas card this year. Such a beautiful family!!!! Love and Best Wishes, Your ZO

  7. Leslie harris
    December 23, 2012 | 3:48 pm

    I love a good fake! Punking your kids on Christmas, hey I’ll have to try that on my boys. Although to be perfectly honest I don’t think it’s all that hard. The men in my life are not the most observant about decorations (and messes) haha. Fun post! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas,
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss)

  8. Andrea Heckenlively
    December 25, 2012 | 12:06 pm


    I just read this out loud to the fam! I was waiting to hear the outcome… so so funny! Love and Merry Christmas to the Myers!

About Me

It's true! Despite playing defense virtually all my life against the onslaught of this sometimes-ugly aging process, it...has...arrived! I naively thought I would escape cellulite (the Cottage Cheese) and crow's feet (the Crepe Paper). But I didn't! And why didn't anyone tell me about this emotional roller-coaster that comes with being an Empty-Nester?! My name is Jodie Barringer Myers. I'm a 54-year-old Friday/chardonnay/ hydrangea-loving wife/mom/court reporter living in Sacramento (Gold River!), California. Writing is cathartic for me. And because I look to find humor and humility among the rubble that is my now very peri-menopausal self, I'm hopeful that you will laugh, cry, learn, enjoy and, most of all, relate to what I have to say. After all, we're all in this together, right?

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