A Christmas tree and a hammer

Dawn Hudson :: You would think that assembling an artificial Christmas tree is a simple task, but one woman proves that it's not.

Updated: 2/6/2006

This story was written by Citizen Journalist Betty Kuhn. We encourage you to click the Tip Jar to support this writer's work.
One woman's quest to find the perfect pre-lit Christmas tree turns into one ill-starred mishap.

The time has come to shop for that perfect Christmas tree. Some families take a weekend and go to the mountains to find their special tree; others go to a tree farm to cut one, but most people simply buy a tree in town. Whether you buy it or cut it yourself, the crop of trees this year is great. I've spied pines and nobles that would take your breath away—expensive but great.

Now, me? I opted for an artificial tree again this year. I have used the same tree for about 15 years now and I love it. It's always perfect and looks lovely with the flocking on all the branches. But, this year, I moved, and I no longer have room for a tree as wide as the old one, so off I went to purchase a new tree—a pre-lit tree this time. All I should have to do is the fun part: decorating. I do love to decorate.

Well, I brought home a 6-and a half-foot tree (pre-lit of course) and started to put it together. Now, you would think that a moderately intelligent woman, such as myself, could assemble a tree with no problem, right? It only had four parts: the stand, the bottom section, middle and top. Okay, that's easy!

I read the instructions twice (I'm pretty dense) and laid out the parts of the tree as they suggested. The instruction sheet said to remove the extension cord strapped to the bottom section of the tree—which I did. And then I was to put the bottom portion in the stand and tighten it—which I also did … nice and tight.

This is where I ran into trouble. They must have attached the extension cord to the wrong section of the tree because when I tried to add the next section, I found it was bigger. Oh! I put the wrong section in the stand.

No problem. I thought I'd just remove it and place the bottom piece in the stand and start over. That's easy enough.


I rectified my mistake; however, now the middle piece wouldn't fit. I figured the pipe must be out of round from putting it in the stand. (I didn't realize I caused dimples in the metal when I forced it into the stand.) So I took the hammer and tried to tap it down into the pipe. It wouldn't go; now what? I was compounding the problem, for now the top of the pipe was bent over from hitting it with the hammer. Smart, really smart!

There I was sitting in the middle of the floor with pieces of my new Christmas tree laying around me, laughing at my own stupidity. How could I mess up such a simple job?

I thought to myself, "Well I can always buy another tree." Sure!

Now, my daughter bails me out of these little predicaments I get myself into, so I called her and through my laughter confessed, "Casey, I broke my new Christmas tree."

Casey started laughing and promised to come over the next morning and look at it. There she was the next morning, saw in hand, and ready to fix my broken artificial Christmas tree.

"How did you manage this mother?" she asked.

"Believe me darling, it wasn't easy," she replied

We cut off the dimpled and bent parts of the pipe and finally got the tree together. Although it was slightly shorter, I still enjoyed it.

It's funny how a simple job, like putting up a Christmas tree, could cause so much trouble.

Still, I contend the instructions were flawed. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

This story was produced by Happynews Citizen Journalist Betty Kuhn. Betty Kuhn writes a weekly newspaper column about life and is active in her community where she promotes home care for loved ones. Betty is the author of a book titled, “What to Do When Mom Moves In.” She helps the reader sort through feelings of entrapment and to find real joy in care giving. The book includes features, tips and suggestions to help caregivers meet their responsibilities and take care of themselves, as well. She is currently working on her second book, “Starting Over”— a guide to a new life alone.

For more information on contributing to Happynews, click here.

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