05 Dec The Macaroni Christmas Tree
Santa won’t deliver his presents to our house when he sees our Christmas tree this year, I thought, as I stared with unmasked hatred at the imposter tree sitting in our dining room in all of it’s gaudy glory. Six feet tall, spray painted in gold, and covered in dried macaroni, it is my Dad’s proudest achievement and my Christmas Nightmare. He spent months creating this paper mache and macaroni tree in secret. He surprised the family with it two weeks ago to the horror of both myself, and my two younger brothers.
“Why can’t we have a real tree like all of the other kids?” I lament to my mother when my father is out of earshot. My brothers stood behind me in solidarity, wearing sad faces and holding a box of tissues.
“It’s a nice tree, Shelley, and your father worked very hard to make it.” Mom sat on the couch. “You’ll get used to it.”
“No we won’t,” my brothers and I said in unison. I’m glad the blinds are down so the kids in town can’t see it.
Mom sighed, then opened The Courier Post newspaper, her signal to us that the conversation was over. It was the second time today that we tried to change her mind.
No matter, I had more important things to think about, like building a snow fort, sledding, and daydreaming about the presents I wanted. In spite of the golden puke tree we had, I felt certain that if I wrote Santa a letter, he would understand my dire situation and overlook our tree fiasco. I also planned to make a gigantic pile of cookies for him as an added bonus.
My brothers and I decided that we needed real bikes this year. We were tired of riding Big Wheels. We were big kids now. All of our friends had bikes. So we devised a plan in the summer to ride our Big Wheels into the ground. We rode them all the time, everywhere; over rocks, in mud, into trees, into the lake, all in the hopes that these Big Wheels would go kaput! And then it would be obvious that we needed to get bikes. Kid logic at work!
At Christmas Eve Santa came to our house for his yearly visit. I whispered in his ear when it was my turn to sit with him on the couch, and I told him about our shameful tree and would he still bring us presents?
“Were you a good girl this year?” He asked me.
“Of course,” I said, crossing my fingers.
He winked at me.
I smiled. Santa understood.
I woke up at 5 a.m. Christmas morning. Excited, I grabbed my stocking that was left on the floor by Santa and carefully pulled each item from the red and white stocking; a box of Lifesavers, packs of gum, a CrackJack box, a new Dawn doll and doll clothes, a Hotwheels car, socks, gloves and a roll of quarters. I hit the jackpot!
When my parents got up, my brothers and I raced down the stairs. Underneath the ugly tree were presents galore! Santa had come. But in the corner were three new Big Wheels with bright red or green bows fasented on each. Santa had tricked us! Our joy bubble had burst and my brothers and I wore such long faces that day our father promised us that we would have a real tree next year.
Later that night, when Mom came in to kiss me good night, I asked her why we got Big Wheels again.
“Your father and I noticed how often you and your brothers were riding them, so we decided that all of you must love Big Wheels so much that we told Santa to get you new ones,” she said.
Our plan had backfired.
It wasn’t until the following Christmas that we all got new bikes. Mine was purple with a banana seat and it was the best bike I ever had. And we had a real tree this time.
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