Saturday, December 4, 2010

A dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards

The project: an alternative Christmas tree.
The materials: a castaway and broken lamp stand; one twig, steel wire, ornaments
from youth.
The source: I found the lamp stand sticking up out of the dumpster on James Street.

The story: My goal in this project was to indulge my seasonal sensibilities. Yes I want to be listening to this. Yes I want to be drinking this. Yes I want a gaudy centerpiece that involves wires and birds and baubles (see future blog post). And this blog post's yes takes the shape of a Christmas tree. (Sidenote: During algebra tests in middle school, my gross friend Trevor would always dare me to Christmas tree the test, which meant to zigzag the answers all the way down the Scantron page.
This was only one reason why I took algebra twice.) As I'm getting older, it's becoming dearer and dearer to me to make intentional choices for simplicity. I love Christmas trees and am happy that you have one, and I would like to come see it. But it doesn't make much sense for me to buy one this year. We have limited space, no dollars, and a small habit of being clumsy (mostly in the form of walking into whatever is in the room. The combined forces of Liz and Actual Tree will only end in a zany and tangled mess.) I knew I valued the symbol more than the traditional shape, and that led me here.

The How-To-Do-It:
1. Find a base you don't think is ugly. This year it was a lamp stand. In years past, I have used elegant, fussy vases. The only difference really is that this year's tree is free standing.
2. Find a twig on the ground. It will be there.
3. Assemble your tree. If you're using a lamp stand, you will likely have to whittle the twig's end down so as to make it fit into whichever groove you've chosen for it. This will be easy and fun. Everyone loves a whittle.
4. Look in your basement, your drawers, your trash for a few ornaments. They will be there. When you discover that you have ALMOST enough ornaments,
5. Tangle together some steel wire, add a loop, and hang them from your branches.

The cost: $0 (castaway lamp shade) + $0 (twig) + $0 (ornaments from youth) + $0 (found steel wire and borrowed pliers) = $0

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