The Christmas Tree that Couldn’t


I have 3 roommates. One is Buddhist, one is “doesn’t believe in religion” and the other thinks “Christmas decorations are tacky.” Knowing this, I did not expect to have a Christmas tree or any other Christmas decorations in the house.

I have a little tree that Mami gave me a few years ago that I planned on putting in my room, but that’s about it. Imagine my surprise, then, when I asked one of my roommates if we were going to get a Christmas tree (while bouncing around like an excited 5-year-old) and she was excited about the plan as I was. We talked about the logistics of furniture moving to make room for this tree and then the OTHER decorations she had, etc. The we talked about when to get the tree.

Being Cuban, I remember as a kid decorating the tree on Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) and then it would stay up the 12 days of Christmas until the 3 Kings were supposed to arrive on January 6th (and even then we kept it up a bit longer). Yes, we eventually started putting up the tree before Noche Buena, but never too early. We would wait until AT LEAST December 15th.

That’s great Kiki, your point?

Well, as my roommate and I discussed when we were both available to go get a tree and decorations, it became obvious the only day we could do it was NOVEMBER 30th (!).

So, on NOVEMBER 30th (!) an Asian, a black girl, and a blonde (yes, I’m the blonde here) go out to buy a Christmas tree. (Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, right?) The blonde says, “How long could this take?” HA! I was dancing through the store like a happy little kid, pirouettes and everything. I would pick up the ugliest decoration I could find and tell my roommates it was a “MUST HAVE.”

Anyway, after playing and prancing through the store, we found a tree we could all agree on. I had wanted a pre-lit tree. Moments after making our decision, the black girl pointed out a slightly shorter UN-lit tree for half the price. Ok, fine . . . except . . . it was not in stock. We had a cart full of decorations for a tree that was not in stock.

Hungry. Tired. And just wanting to get home, the Asian and I made an executive decision: The black girl would go to customer service and find out if another nearby store had the tree . . . we would buy the decor and put it in the car. As we walked up to the car, there was all kinds of commotion going on. Apparently, an OLD ASIAN in an ELEMENT had been driving down the row where we were parked and hit several parked cars AFTER he had popped his tire on a curb. It had taken 3 good samaritans to stop him and call the police. Yes, he HAD hit my roommate’s car before he was stopped. So we had to wait for the police to show up. First one bike cop pulls up. Then another. Then a cruiser with two more cops inside shows up. (The question “how many cops does it take to stop an old Asian man?” comes to mind . . .)

After about an hour, the police gave my roommate the old man’s insurance information then and had his car towed. We went home. WITHOUT a tree.

Later that night, I went and got the tree we’d wanted from a different store. I went by myself. By the time I got home, I was too tired to work on the tree, so the box sat (yes, we went artificial – I didn’t want to worry about taking care of a tree or about the disposal of a very dead one later and I wanted it to last through January 6th) in the corner we had designated as the tree corner.

It, basically, sat for a week.

Over the course of the week I worked on getting it built. At the end of the week,  it was time for lights.Somehow, I was in charge of that part too . . .

Despite the enlightening romantic entanglement I had with . . . myself . . . I think it came out alright in the end. The day after I finished putting the lights up, I came home to find a finished tree. Of course they waited until the hard stuff was finished, but I don’t mind too much. Just looking at our tree makes me happy.

I ALSO found a decorated table and wall that I can only assume is our “holiday” section. It cracked me up so I decided to just embrace it:

Yes, the bow on the wall says “Happy Kwanzaa” and that is a mini-Christmas tree and the candles on the right side of the menorah are Diwali colors. 😉


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