Sunday, December 8, 2013

2013 Tree - Mistakes and Memories Made

I was on vacation when I had the idea to decorate my tree completely different from the last several years.  I was at Disney, where the holiday decorations are stunning.  I decided to give up my colored lights for white and to move from metallic garland to burlap ribbon and berries.   
Assignments were doled out!  My husband was to take the tree and the lights.  I was to work on finding the perfect burlap and berry garland. 

The tree assignment had two options . . . 1) a real tree, complete with a box of tissues and some cold and sinus medication to get us through the season (allergies) or 2) a new artificial tree without lights (we’ll put those on ourselves) that looks as real as possible. 

The light assignment . . . we’ve been married for 32 years.  He should know what I like at this point.  Plentiful lights . . . and not those new weird ones.   

The burlap assignment . . . wide unfinished burlap ribbon (with all the fray) that can wind and twist around the tree.

The berries . . . strings of berries that look fairly real, and that will get us through a few years.  Nothing that looks cheap or fake, and something that will "wear" well. 

Mistakes were made.  Where do I begin.  Apparently the choices for artificial trees without lights are very slim.  Let me tell you, it’s not just the choices that are slim.  Once this tree was set up and the branches fanned out, I asked my husband how much he paid.  I realized I should have given him a minimum price to pay.  He paid $80.00.  Another $40.00 could have filled some of these gaps!  But you know, that’s o.k. because lights, burlap and ornaments will fill these gaps.  Right? 

Wrong.  We've been married for 32 years (32 years, 5 months, 11 days, 21 hours as of this writing).  Efficiency of lights means nothing to me.  I do not like LED lights on my tree.  He remembers that I like a lot of lights, but he forgets that I do not like LED.  When he turns the lights on I hear Manfred Mann's Earth Band . . . Blinded by the Light.   

"Look away! Don't look directly at the tree." I can picture it now, Christmas eve we'll be sitting round the living room with our sun glasses.  And, what's worse, the lights are so bright they are illuminating the inside of the tree so you can clearly see this is an artificial tree (and not a good one either). 
The berries were the one clear win (3 out of 4 is not too bad).  I placed an order for a wood strand.  They were a little more than I wanted to pay, but they would withstand a few years if I liked this theme.  Plastic ones looked a little . . . what’s the word I’m looking for . . . plastic!  So I went with wood.  I got four strands (could have used five or six, but I made do).   

So let’s talk about that burlap, shall we.  I searched on Amazon trying to find the cheapest roll of burlap in a wide unfinished ribbon-like roll.  I wanted rustic looking with fray.  I compared and compared . . . did math and more math . . . and then I placed an order for what seemed to be the best deal. It is 4 inch wide burlap at $10 a roll not including shipping, which I usually get free, but because it seemed like a great deal, I paid the shipping.  (Remember . . . I did the math.)  And to be sure I would not run short, I ordered two rolls, which barely increased the shipping.   

I was clearly confused. I thought I did the math.  I must have mixed up some comparisons and missed some details.  This past week a large very long box arrives. I'm trying to figure out what I ordered that could be in this box, and the return address label didn’t help (because remember, it wasn’t an Amazon Prime item, so it shipped from someone else).  This is what greets me when I open the box . . . 

Please note the pencil and ruler for comparison.

Folks . . . I have two of those! TWO. What was I thinking?  I know I was comparing yardage and price, so what went wrong.  I went back and read the description on the order. They are 100 yards each. YARDS. I have 200 YARDS of 4 inch wide burlap. I thought about returning one, but the cost to return would be higher than just keeping my second $10.00 roll. 
My motto on Christmas trees . . . What you set up each year is a memory.  Anyone who knows the Bonczek family and the story of "the wonky" tree, knows that we stick with what we have for that year.  Push forward and pray your burlap covers some of that bright light.  

Well, no . . . the light comes right through the burlap (how convenient).

I took this last night . . . pre-ornament. I would have loved to have taken a full picture, but because of the bright lights, I could not get anything that didn't have glare in about a dozen places. Those lights are so bright, they illuminate the inside of the tree so you can clearly see it is artificial. 
I will say, I’m not a fan of metallic garland in daylight on trees.  I love it at night when the lights are on, but I’ve never liked the look in daylight.  The burlap and the berries look awesome in daylight.  I am loving the look, and I surely got a bargain on burlap for years to come.

It's one year . . . one tree.  There's always next year.  
Hoping your tree trimming memories are good ones. 



  1. You are totally cracking me up! You definitely have a tree to remember! For some reason I am reminded of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, but I may just be projecting my personal family memories onto your tree experience. LOL

    When you have a minute, could you email me at I couldn't find out how to contact you. Thanks so much!

  2. The burlap and berries are a great addition and your Christmas tree will be stunning with the brightness.