After 20 years of marriage, my husband is used to me doing surprising things. “If it wasn’t this, it would be something else,” he often says about me. But three years ago, when a flocked Christmas tree showed up on our front porch, even he was shocked. “You bought what?” he asked, completely flabbergasted.
“It was a Today’s Special Value on QVC,” I said, knowing that he’d only have a vague idea of what that meant. “I always wanted a flocked Christmas tree.”
“But couldn’t we have talked about this first?” he asked. Both kids rushed to take his side.
Our daughter pointed to the picture on the box. “It’s white. Why would there be snow in the living room?”
“I’m OK with fake trees,” our son said, “but this looks too fake.”
“Trust me,” I said, as I sliced open the box. “It’ll be gorgeous.” The flocked Christmas tree wasn’t the only part of my decorating revolution. I’d also purchased burlap Christmas stockings for the fireplace, and mercury glass votives with battery operated candles. My vision meant turning the living room into a glittery-white wonderland.
Three years later the only downside I see to our flocked Christmas tree is that whenever our poodle Merlin sniffs around the tree skirt he picks up flocking on his fur. Other than that, I love our flocked tree just as much as the day I purchased it.
The flocking and colored lights look beautiful together. Gold picture frames hang from the branches with photos of five generations of family members. The tree reminds me that even though my extended family is physically apart right now, we are still together in spirit.
“I love this tree so much,” I said when we assembled it the day after Thanksgiving. My husband clicked the trunk pieces into place, and the kids fluffed up the branches. I looked around the living room. “We should get poinsettias,” I said. “Pink poinsettias.” Nobody dared to argue for red ones, because they knew I’d say red wouldn’t match.
“Sure,” said my husband. “Get some poinsettias. This is the year to go all out.”
He’s right. In 2020, holiday decorations carry a heavy load. We depend on them to pick up our spirits and fill our homes with joy. We look at them as beacons of hope lighting the way to the end of a difficult year. It doesn’t matter if our Christmas tree is real or fake, fir or pine, pure or flocked; it needs to make the world feel normal.
So bring on the Christmas trees! Get flocking on the poodle. Buy a tree too big for your stand and let it crash down in the middle of the night. Argue over how to string the Christmas lights. Cry over the handprint ornament your child made in preschool.
Sprinkle the holiday cheer thoroughly so that when December looks back at the other eleven months it can say: “2020, you’ve been flocked.”
Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as Jennifer Bardsley Author. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.