I don't know why, but I'm in a particularly Christmasy mood this Christmas.
After flirting with "I'm not going to decorate for Christmas this year" for a while, I put lights around my series of bookcases, which somehow ignited something else in me. So I went out and bought a more full-sized Christmas tree, a cheapie artificial one at Target that looked like it had been taken home by someone and brought back. It was the last one of its kind amongst all the more expensive trees, its taped bottom sagging and looking suspiciously re-taped. And of course, all of that conspired to make me want it even more.
So I loaded up my red Target shopping cart, with this 5'5" box (with a convenient handle) and six boxes of ornaments (about two too many) and came home. The tree was unlit (another reason why it was so cheap...$26 bucks!), so I walked over to Ace Hardware downtown (I swear I get no money for these plugs, seriously) and bought two sets of multi-colored lights (600 total...because the Ace guy told me you'd want that many for a 6' tree...yeah, if you want to cover it entirely and burn down the building!), and an hour later: VOILA!
Instant Christmas tree:
But there was one thing missing (which is actually present in this photo): A tree topper. I had fond memories of the one we had as a kid, a kind of gaudy, semi-religious artifact thing that was treated as the holiest of holies when we decorated the tree: It always went on LAST. It had to go on last, no matter how complicated and contortion-causing getting it up there was, it just had to be the last thing on the tree.
So I went to dinner next to Ace Hardware and searched eBay with my trusty iPhone and what came up first but the exact tree topper we had as a kid...with 47 minutes to go and only one bid on it. I ate dinner, came home, looked in again at about 7 minutes left and bided my time...and then I bid and won it.
It came on Friday and it brought with it a particular piece of destiny, like I was supposed to have this. Not only does it look like what I remember as a kid was our tree topper (here, take a look at a close-up)...
but it was also purchased at a store my family shopped at, a discount department store down in the Allentown area called Two Guys. I'm not sure which store this one was purchased at. We shopped at a Two Guys in Allentown, at least for a few years in the 1960s. I remember them having a great toy section each year at Christmas. I'm pretty sure my parents had ours for a while, pre-60s, at least, but we could have totally bought this at a Two Guys. Here's the tag:
Looking around San Diego these days, it doesn't feel a lot like Christmas. The city decorated all the trees on Fourth and Fifth Avenues with lights around the trunks the past two years, but not this year. Their only Christmas concession seems to be a red condom-like covering on the middle bulb of the antiquey street lights. But it doesn't even have a resevoir tip. And other than the group of festive and holiday-themed--and very scantily-clad--runners I encountered on Park Blvd. this morning who looked like Santa's Sluts (male and female, and let me just say, God bless us everyone!), and the trio of Santa, elf, and a cute woman in a Christmas tree outfit with presents for shoes and smooth, sexy, brown tights encasing her legs for that "trunk" look, it's just another week in southern California, albeit a rainy one.
So that's my Christmas story, with my cute (but kind of homely) little "big" tree. I don't know what came over me this year, but I'm sticking with it, vintage tree topper and all.