Friday, December 16, 2005

Christmas spirit on the cheap

L. and I were walking around the Upper West Side the other night after a visit to Saigon Grill [my first time; food was excellent and cheap; and being a weekday, it wasn't too crowded] and Edgar's Cafe , when I got the urge to buy a Christmas tree. Now I won't be here for the holiday weekend, and I'm not expecting any visitors the next two weeks, but when you see all those happy people carrying trees around the neighborhood, it just gets you in the mood.
 
So I paused at one of the stands and asked for their smallest evergreen. They pointed me in the direction of a small two-foot-ish number. It was perfect. I offered $5. They suggested $6. I was sold. I carried it down onto the subway platform and sat down next to a woman who reminded me of Joan Cusack (but wasn't) who'd also been bitten by the Tannenbaum bug. She turned to me and said, "Ho. Ho. Ho." Hers was slightly larger and wrapped in the white netting they give you to bundle them up, and she was impressed that I got mine for so cheap. She wouldn't say how much she paid for hers. We chatted about decorating options for most of the way uptown on the 1.
 
When I got home, I created a makeshift tree stand out of a disposable plastic food container filled with water, taped the base to my dresser, and strung a green ribbon from the top branches to one of my light sconces, and voila! My little Charlie-Brown tree was standing up and sturdy enough to decorate. Since I don't have any real ornaments, I improvised with more of the green ribbon as well as photographs, aluminum foil, construction paper, and cutouts from last year's Christmas cards. Within an hour, I had 10 passable ornaments to fill out my tree. I added some wrapped presents, a Christmas manger votive holder, some of this year's Christmas cards on the side, and the effect was complete! Now I kind of wish I had people coming over so they could see.

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