The Leaning Tower of Pine and Other Holiday Calamities


Hi Friends!  Over the weekend I tried to cram in WAY too much.  It was supposed to rain Saturday and Sunday and I am completely booked next weekend, so I had it in my head that I HAD to get our Christmas tree on Friday.  I had visions of my kids drinking hot coco and listening to Christmas music by a fire while we decorated the perfect Christmas trees.  That is when I should have stopped and reset my expectations!

We were busy doing a million other things Friday, so we did not get to the tree lot until about 5:00, and it was getting dark. While trying to prevent my 5 year old and 3 year old from getting hit by cars, I decided on what I thought was the best looking tree in the lot.  I should mention we go to this Christmas tree lot where you buy a stand once and then the following years, you just bring the stand back and take one that is already in a stand.  Makes the whole process easier.  For some reason, putting a tree in a stand is akin to changing a tire to me!

We got the tree home and as soon as we put it in the window, we noticed that it was leaning. A LOT.  We tried to rotate it, we tried to prop the stand up on magazines, we tried it all.  Finally, my husband laid it down and sawed off part of the trunk, thinking that it was not level.  I walked into the room and there was tree carnage all over and my husband was sweating like he was running a marathon.  Totally defeating the perk of get the tree already in the stand.

I suggested we take the tree back, but the hubs thought the idea of putting it back on top of the car, returning it, and lugging home a new one was not such a great idea.  So, after much propping up and turning, our tree looks like it is straight if you are looking at it head on.  Don’t even talk to me about what it looks like from the sides.  It looks like a shark is coming through our window.

As I tried to get over our “imperfect” tree, I started getting out our ornaments.  Partly due to my children’s excitement and partly due to my exhaustion, we had many ornament “casualties.”  One ornament is one thing, but we lost about 10 glass ones. Our home looked like Christmas threw up on it and my idea of the “perfect” Christmas memory was starting to fade.

As I lay in bed that evening, I couldn’t help but think of the Christmas in 1993 when my parents had to use fishing line to secure our family tree to the windows. That was after two hours of arguing about how to get it straight in the tree stand.  I remember being 13 years old and convinced my parents were going to get a divorce that day.  It also reminds me of the time my mom wanted to create a “perfect” Christmas memory when she took me and my sisters to San Francisco for the weekend to shop and see the Nutcracker.  That perfect weekend was cut short after we all got sick, and my mom slipped in the rain and flew down a famous San Francisco hill.  No Nutcraker for us on that “perfect”holiday weekend.

These memories reminded me that the more we try to create “perfect” moments and perfect memories, the more we set ourselves up for failure.  It is no wonder we are disappointed when we set our expectations so high.  My resolution (coming early this year) is to live more in the moment and to have no expectations (or lower my expectations).  The real memories come from spending every day moments together and don’t need to be perfectly orchestrated the way I play them out in my head.

So, as I sit here, looking at my Leaning Tower of Pine (which looks magnificent now that the lights and ornaments are on), I am feeling grateful for the small, everyday things.  Like my husband, who was patient and tried soooo hard to get that tree in the stand straight, and my little girls who are quietly (for once) playing with each other beneath the tree.

So, this Christmas on the blog, it might be more lists of holiday DIY’s I would like to tackle, rather than tutorials on ones I have.  And that is okay because  . . . I am lowering my expectations 🙂

How is your holiday decorating going? Have you started? It is okay if you haven’t.  Kinda wished I hadn’t!







  1. What’s wrong with fishing line?

  2. Love this post, Jennifer! It can be hard to lower our expectations in these situations but SO worth it. Way to be wise!


  1. […] The first thing you see when you enter is our tree.  I tried to minimize it in these pictures, but you will see it is leaning just a bit.  I think it gives our tree a little “character.”  I wrote about my leaning tree and other holiday calamaties here. […]

  2. […] everyone!  I am over my leaning Christmas tree I wrote about here, and am plugging away on lots of fun projects.  I posted here all about tips for decorating with […]

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.