Mr. wOw Humiliates Another Proud Christmas Tree

Mr. wOw's Christmas Tree

Another holiday season, another decorating dilemma

Even after they are brutally cut down and kidnapped from their homes, even after they wither and dry, trees … gossip. They do. It’s just one of those odd things in nature. The trees know what’s up. Although they are not vindictive, like the plant life in M. Night Shalaman’s horrible movie “The Happening,” they don’t suffer fools gladly.

Every year at this time, I make for the local spot in Hoboken where the kidnapped trees are held for ransom. Some are propped up “just like they were in the forest.” Others are cruelly bound, leaning against the walls of the old church. They know when I’m coming. And I know they know.

“It’s him! The one that makes you dress up like a hooker! Damn, if I could only move!”

“He looks a little tired. Maybe he won’t have the strength to…”

“Are you kidding? I’ve heard he sometimes tells his friend, B. ‘Oh, I’m going a bit more elegant this year.’ It never happens. Class will out. Utterly common!”

Mr. wOw ignores. After all, this year he’s going more elegant for sure. I’m going to let the tree be the star, not the ornaments and ribbons and tinsel, etc. It’ll be so subtle.

I wander through the rows of fragrant greenery. I prod, I eye the height, I pull down the branches to get and idea of the fullness.

“He’s taking a longer time than usual. Cruel bastard.”

“He’s looking at you, honey.”

“No, he’s not. I’m too tall. He’s looking at her. She seems his type.”

“Hey, hey. Who you calling a ‘type?’”

Finally Mr. wOw makes his choice and half carries, half drags his beautiful selection two blocks home.

“You big sissy, can’t you just haul me on your shoulder, like a gentleman?!”

Mr. wOw  and B. prop up our lovely tree and go upstairs. I come down with two boxes of ornaments and two boxes of tinsel.

B. says. “Really?”

“Yes,” Mr. wOw replies. “I told you. This year it’s going to be about the tree. How green, how strong. You know — celebrate nature.”

“Uh, okay.”

Mr. wOw begins to carefully, artfully decorate. Only the most beautiful ornaments, the oldest and most treasured. One here, one there, a few strings of tinsel.

“That looks very nice,” says B.

“Yes. But …” Mr. wOw feels empty.

Upstairs to more boxes.

The tree objects.

“Ugh! Jesus! Are you kidding? This stuff is plastic. More ribbons? More tinsel? No wonder you like Elizabeth Taylor!”

Mr. wOw begins to sing: “Jenny made her mind up when she was three, she herself was going to trim the Christmas tree/Christmas Eve she lit the candles, tossed the tapers away/Little Jenny was an orphan on Christmas Day!”

The tree falls silent. Nobody wants to burn.

Mr.  wOw brings down more boxes. The tree is groaning but basically silent. A stoic fir.

Finally, it is done.

And believe it or not, this is a more restrained effort. Less ribbons. Less tinsel. A few less ornaments. Eh, okay — Mr. wOw didn’t celebrate the tree. Quite.  He celebrated himself and his own overpowering sense of bad taste. The tree was a prop. Sorry, tree.

It’s Christmas. Mr. wOw has to give himself a present.

57 comments so far.

  1. avatar Linda Myers says:

    Mr. Wow, it is beautiful and any less wouldn’t be your tree! Thank you for coming through again this year. Merry Christmas!!!!!!! (There is more than enough room under the tree for Santa to be very good to you!)
     
    Linda

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Linda…Santa has already been very good to me.  I have continuned good health and B., a job, and all of you.  Merry Christmas.

      • avatar Linda Myers says:

        You have happiness, what more could you ask for. This year on a local station I watched as small children told Santa what they wanted, none asked for toys. They asked for warm houses and wishes for others. One asked for a board game so his family could play together. Times are tough for many but the hearts of the young are in the right place which can only bring this world to a better future! Have a wonderful Christmas Eve!

  2. avatar kermie says:

    A tradition is a tradition.  When I was a kid, the youngest of five, we had a five-foot fake tree my father would haul out every Christmas.  The decorations, and especially the old cardboard star on top, made it special.  We had a little lighted village underneath and a train track that went around the base of the tree.  The memories are always better than the reality.  Have a lovely holiday.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Kermie–thank you.  Have any of those treasured old ornaments survived?

      • avatar kermie says:

        Mr. Wow–Nope.  That was a very, very, very, long time ago.  But I still remember when that tiny tree was so much bigger than me.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      The memories are always better than the reality. 

      ___________________________________________________

      So true. No matter how bad they were, and some were awful, we always remember the Christmases past fondly. 

      • avatar TheRudeDog says:

        Holy god, woman.  We can always depend on you for generally overly-wordy, self-important responses, along with Sweeping Generalizations.  True, it’s kind of sad that your memories are “always” better than the reality but that certainly doesn’t hold for ALL of us.  Are you trying to state unequivocally that all our memories are never as wonderful as actually experiencing them?  I just don’t even know what else to say about that.  What a horrible way to live life.

        Despite what the garrulous Baby may think, Mr. Wow, I wish you a wonderful and happy season filled with memories that are authentic and real, and that are as happy to look back on as they are to experience.

        Sheesh!

      • avatar TheRudeDog says:

        And yes, I did forget to mention the best thing:  What a robust, happy tree that is!  I’ve always contended that our Christmas trees absolutely mirror their environment.  And, if I’m correct, you’ve got yourself one very, very happy tree.  And it wears its happiness beautifully.  I think we could all take away some lessons from our Christmas trees… ;-)

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        You need to learn to read.  I was responding to Kermie. In a general sense.  Kermie is the one who made the comment about memories being better than the reality. 

        Some of my Christmases, by the way have been spectacular. Some have been stinkers. I wouldn’t be surprised if I spent one of the stinkers with you.  One.

      • avatar kermie says:

        Snooks–I love your replies.  I was feeling a tad sorry for myself when I wrote that.  You picked up on that.  Thank you.  Believe it or not, you made me feel better.  You and Mr. Wow’s tree.  Have a great holiday!

      • avatar TheRudeDog says:

        {Sigh.}  God bless us, every one.

    • avatar Linda Myers says:

      Kermie,
      My dad decided in 1968 he was going from a real tree to artificial, that tree I finally disposed of this fall after the years of him setting it up and many years afterwards of setting it up in my house when the kids were growing up. When he died I took his code a phone which had his voice on a message and this fall thinking about the times back then I would replay the message to hear his voice, I bought the Night Before Christmas recordable books for my grandkids, recorded them and sent one to each house for the kids tonight. On special occasions I will send them new books so when I am no longer hear they will have the voice for a little bit longer. Tonight it will just be fun for them, maybe someday they will be like that code a phone to move beyond a tough time of losing grandma’s voice.
      Merry Christmas,
      Linda

  3. avatar Mr. Wow says:

    FROM Mr. WOW—Spell Check!  It’s M. Night Shyamalan.  Although I hate his movies, nobody should have his name misspelled.

  4. avatar Merlindbear says:

    The happiest of holidays, Mr Wow and family. 
    And thank you for allowing us into your life.

    Happy Hanukwanzchristmfestivusyule everyone!

  5. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Well does seem more subtle. Subdued.  But it’s still just Christmas Eve day. I don’t know. Maybe a little more tinsel. A tad more red at the bottom. Still, it’s nice to see a little green I suppose.  I found a photo of my last tree while looking for the enormous red ribbon that seems to have vanished like so many other things I thought had survived the various moves. It was shaped like a tree, anyway. A mass of lights and gold garland and red ribbons and one of every ornament ever sold. Somewhere beneath it all, a tree. You and I must have been separated at birth. We seem to share the approach that life is not a cabaret. It’s a cornucopia. Particularly at Christmas. 

    Merry Cornucopia Mr. Wow.  The tree is divine.  As are you.  Looks like someone cropped you out of the photo. The mystery continues. 

    And if someone mentions the tree looks bare compared to last year, tell them it is celebrating the new austerity!

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Baby…actually, I took a lot of photos from various angles, closeups of the overloaded tablles, etc (because who doesn’t want closeups of that.)   How silly I feel now, that nobody reminded me that with the new format, there’s no slideshow facility and the pics are very small.  In fact this one is so small Mr. Wow’s pic could have safely appeared.  And I looked adorable, as I always do next to my…thing.  (I could publish some others on our own website, which sits dormant.)

      I did al of this decorating in one frantic day.  Last Sunday.  I knew if I procrastinated any more it would be a barren Christmas indeed.  I’m still down in the depths on the third flooor of our house in Hoboken, but I’m glad I got the tree, despite my failing to create the aura of  Grace Kelly in “To Catch a Thief” rather than Miss Taylor in…anything after “Cleo”

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      DEar Baby….I just put more tinsel on it.  And a couple of small ornaments.  Dutifully watered it, too.  For that trouble  I got:  “Oh, why keep me alive, if all you do is to slowly turn me into the Wife of Bath?!”

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        Odd how we both decorated on Sunday.  I’m telling you we were separated at birth.  Grace Kelly it ain’t.  Elizabeth Taylor, well, I will be nice since it’s Christmas.  But, well, it does look like the Wife of Bath. After she collided with a Brinks truck. Which of course is how one gossip columnist years ago described Elizabeth Taylor as she added more and more diamonds with each passing birthday and each passing box office disaster. I guess that wasn’t nice. It slipped out.  But, well, I didn’t get a Christmas card and a box of chocolates like Liz Smith did. 

  6. avatar Lila says:

    Go for it, Mr. Wow!  We don’t have a tree this year – too many distractions going on – so we’ll just share in the generosity of your tree!

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Lila…I was pretty distracted to, and with each passing year, less in the spirit.  But, as I have said–there’s B.  This is the least I can do to amuse and comfort him, in the face of my ongoing depression.

  7. avatar Chris Glass` says:

    I am enjoying all the trees I see this year Because I didn’t have a chance to put one up. I’ve been running to and from the nursing home and will be there Christmas. I love having a fresh tree and the time to decorate under ordinary circumstances. It was pleasing to read about the pleasure you had in putting your tree up.

  8. avatar HauntedLady says:

    Your tree is wonderful. Merry Christmas to you and B and have a very happy New Year as well.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Lila…Thank you.  I hope in the New Year I can slap myself upside the head just a little more forcefully and try to find a path that doesn’t include an emotional black hole most of the time.  In fact, I went back on anti-depressants recently.  They never work with me, but hope springs eternal.

      The look and wonderful aroma of the tree does lift me up, I must say!

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Haunted Lady…thank you.  2011.  We shall see. It’s sunny today, and feel pretty good.  Almost encouraged.  THere’s a dance in this old queen yet!

  9. avatar Mary says:

    How GRAND and beautiful your tree is Mr. Wow!  Love it! 

    My dad used to wake us up around the first Saturday of Dec, and load us in the family wagon and force us to trudge through the woods of my grandfathers Christmas tree forest.  No it wasn’t officially a tree farm, just land where trees happened to have been planted for the pleasure of his family.  Amidst the complaining kids, the snow knee high, cold feet and hands he would pass perfectly nice trees for what seemed to be the tree the furthest away.  He would have the tallest child hold the tree closest to the middle and one of the smallest children hold close to the bottom and proceed to saw it down.  After the deed was done, we hauled that tree back to the car and tied it on top. 
    Dad would take us home, put the tree in a bucket of water with sugar in it and there it would wait until the week of Christmas.  The tree was the center of our Christmas.  Old family ornaments, each a treasure, the lights that bubbled, blinked, and faded in and out and some even had a aluminum liner that framed the big bulbs of yesterday.  After the tinsel that only Mom would put on the tree, (she was very picky about the tinsel), we put the candy canes.  Lastly the angel on top.  Then the magic!  Lights off, tree on, Christmas music and Christmas cookies, popcorn popping and one by one we put our presents to each other under the tree.  Always a cat or dog would snuggle amidst it all .  Pictures taken  and off to bed. 

    Today I look at all the pictures in the family albums of each and every Christmas.  I miss the lights the most.  I have a few of the ornaments and lots of my own and even if I don’t have a tree I take them out and look at them .  I remember holding them very carefully as a child and hold them very carefully as a adult.  I can hear in my mind the old LP’s, the bells on our doors, the laughter and happiness and remember the delights on Christmas morning.  For me that is enough.

    No tree here, I love them, but am not home enough to make sure the two kids, ( my cats) won’t climb them when I am gone.   New traditions and new joys are to be found and enjoyed. 

    Merry Christmas Mr. Wow and B!   Merry Christmas Everyone on Wow!  May you all close your eyes and night and find peace in your memories and happiness in your hearts to carry you through the Joy of the day!

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Mary…Thank you!  As to kids climbing the tree, We’ve had cats for all our 34 years, and not one has ever climbed a tree.  Honestly, I think they’re scared of them!

      • avatar Mary says:

        Mr. Wow, I have had cats all my life, but, these two do things none of my other ones ever did!   Bill teases Chip and will get into anything that is made of string or resembles string and winds it all over the house.  I was knitting a sweater once and put it down , ran to the store and on my return , poof, sweater was almost completely undone, wrapped from door to door, up and down the stairs, wrapped around chairs and woven around table legs.  Chip suddenly got sick and didn’t eat for two days, took him to the vet and a xray showed yarn wrapped around his insides.  Bill grinning from ear to ear thinking he would be a only child soon, but alas Chip came home.  None of my cats ever chewed wires either.  But these two both have had shocking experiences.  Sooooo, I wouldn’t put it past them to climb a tree just to get to the tinsle on the highest branch and eat it!

        I did however find in my stash of Christmas stuff a little table top tree and a little ceramic one.  They will do……

  10. avatar Maggie W says:

    Look at that tree! I do believe it is showing off. As well it should be! A tree’s greatest fear is being yanked from its friends and family at the Christmas tree farm and being trucked hundreds of miles. Its second greatest fear is being rejected by shoppers. Imagine spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on some dirty lot… alone with nary an ornament one. Not a sliver of tinsel. But not this WoW tree! It is having a grand time in all of its glory. (Please try not to call it “The Thing” when in the same room. Show a little tenderness. And remember to give it a little drink now and then. )
    My tree is looking a bit prissy, if I do say so myself. She comes in three parts with LED lights that are supposed to last 20,000 hours. ( Uh-huh, sure thing.). She spends almost all of the year snoozing in a box in the attic. This year she got a lovely surprise. Evergreen icicles! Ta da! What will those Chinese think of next? They come six to a canister , hang them on the tree, and the entire room smells like evergreen. I kid you not; that tree is grinning!
    I hope your tree, B, and you ,Mr. WoW, have a safe and happy Christmas and many pleasant , unexpected surprises in the new year.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Maggie…if only you knew what the tree has said to me!  I’ve never had one yet truly happy to be the object of Mr. Wow’s rather vulgar style.  But of course I give her a drink every day.  Very grumpy this morning and asked for tequila.

      Merry Christmas!

  11. avatar Bonnie O says:

    Merry Christmas Mr. Wow -  Your Christmas Tree looks beautiful!   It is truly a labor of love.  It took me almost four days to decorate our tree this year …. one glitch after another but it, too, is a labor of Christmas love.

    As a child my Dad did the Christmas Tree decorating … that is for the large tree in the living room.  For all the Christmas “ornaments” that we brought home from school, including snowflake cut-outs, chains made of red construction paper and everything else, he or rather Mom put up a smaller tree upstairs near our bedrooms.  Mom put on the lights but my brothers, sister and I decorated it …. all of it!   It was glorious….gloriously gaudy, in fact.

    As an adult, all decorations went on the tree in the living room.  One year, we strung popcorn and cranberries (another labor of love); another year we decorated with a lot of ribbon.  Now our Christmas tree is show-worthy and elegant with white lights and glass ornaments ….with a few precious tattered and much loved ornaments from Christmases long ago.

    I also enjoy reading your articles, Mr. Wow.  Merry Christmas to you and all those whom you hold dear.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Bonnie…four days!  How did I manage to do that in a few hours?  THere is something seriously wrong with me!  (I was frantic that I wouldn’t do it, actually.)

      Merry Christmas, honey.

  12. avatar Lizzie R. says:

    Oh, Mr. WOW! Your tree is as beautiful as always. The Christmas Spirit was with you and your heart was in it with all its excesses. What a happy tree. Yours must be the tree on Garrison’s show last week…the tree waiting for the special person to buy it, and he arrived. Did it smile at you?  My computer crashed and I had to get my Vista reinstalled. I could not sign in and was very sad, thinking i’d miss telling you how your tree has made my Christmas happier. Tonight, Christmas Eve, I was able finally to get on and feel like i was gifted. Your very special tree has gifted all of us who look forward to it every year. Now my Christmas has been blessed, Thanks for all your effort and have a beautiful Christmas.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Lizzie…a computer crash!  How un-Christmassy.  Glad you’re back up (as the actress said to the bishop)

      My tree has finally come around and has gotten into the whole overdone thing.  Demanded a bit more tinsel, in fact, and thought I’d stinted on the ribbons this year.

      Naturally, I do as my tree wants. Within a week it’ll be a seven foot tall balll of tinsel.

      Merry Christmas to you!

  13. avatar CYNTHIA NEIL says:

    Dear Mr. Wow,
    We are right in the middle of a Mercury retrograde, computer crashes are an occupational hazard of those time frames, along with car problems and miscommunication with loved ones.
    Your tree is lovely.  It looks like mine, which has ornaments from my childhood to the present.   Just wish I could find some old fashioned tinsel like we had when I was a kid.   The heavy stuff that had a gentle shine to it as opposed to the plastic junk they have now.
     
    Merry Merry!

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Cynthia…they don’t make the old fashioned kind–which of course I remember very well—because it had lead in it or something.  Unsafe for children and pets who might chew on it. 

      To be honest, I don’t even see the new lighter tinsel used very much.  I buy great big loads of it because there can never be enough tinsel at Christmas time.

  14. avatar Lisa Cornell says:

    I much prefer real trees. I really prefer trees that don’t follow a particular theme or that are too gussied up. Mr wOw, yours is such a tree. It looks as though it has decorations that have a history and a story to tell. Hope your Christmas was bright and Merry.

  15. avatar Miss Lee says:

    Alas, I have to have a tree in a box.  Due the my asthma, a real tree comes with a trip to the emergency room.  This year I was hesitant to set my fake tree up but my 1 year old cat, Miss Sally, has completely ignored it.  In years past, with her predecessors, I have had to resort to tying the tree to a ceiling plant hook.  So far so good but I do wonder how long she can resist.

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  17. avatar Andy Budgell says:

    Well, I love your tree and decorations! And yes, we Taylor fans are predisposed for indulgence, aren’t we? ;)
    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Mr. wOw, and all the best to you in 2011!

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Andy…my favorite exchange in “Reflections In a Golden Eye”

      Brando:  “Well it wouldn’t have happened except for all this clutter…”

      ET:  “What’s the matter with clutter?  I like clutter!”

  18. avatar SMALL TOWN GIRL says:

    I posted yesterday but apparetly it did’nt take, well anyway I LOVE your happy tree and was waiting for you to post it. 

    So thanks and Happy New Year , I have old  from the 50′s decorations that I just Love I hope my daughter or grandaughter will love them as much as I do some day.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Small Town Girl…Thank you.  I have several ornaments that date back to 1950′s as well.  I treasure them and some of the  happier memories of my childhood.

  19. avatar Andy C says:

    So sorry Mr. Wow — some glitch has kept me from getting alerts to your column — I do hope your Christmas was beautiful and you have continued good health and happiness, all the good things in life in the coming year.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Andy…thank you! 

      All I want right now is an end to this cold.  The only good thing about it?  My voice gets much deeper.  It’s very attractive, or so I am told.  Still, I would like to stop hacking and get back to my old fey tones.

  20. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Where is Mr. Wow and all the Miss/Ms Wows? Someone please post something so we know you’re all safe and sound.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Baby—I am actually on a much-needed vacation.  Unfortunately, it has arrived at the same time as a whoppingly severe cold, which–along with the snowfall–has kept me indoors and lethargic.  Which would be my natural state should I ever win the lottery.  So I guess we have to hope I never do.  “Motivation” is not my middle name.

      I am reading, watching and taking notes, however. 

      I will return.

  21. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    My aim in life really was to be able to sleep until noon, gossip on the phone until is was time to get ready for dinner, party all night and eventually drop dead in an all-night deli after one too many lox and cream cheeses and pastrami on ryes. I could never decide which I wanted so I always had both.  What a way to go.  Alas, well, as Big Mama put it, life doesn’t always turn out the way we planned.  Although I still do manage to gossip on the phone. So I can’t complain too much I guess. 

    Hope you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve with Mr. B. And I hope you are working on your column about Michael Vick.   I’m saving all my Venom in Aries comments just for you. 

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Baby…Hmmmm…!  Well, I have dragged myself up and written a New Year’s post.  However, I sent it today, New Year’s Eve.  So don’t expect it till Monday or Tuesday.  (Mr. Wow cannot expect people to jump just because he has gifted them with his, ah… deathly prose.)

      I wonder re Mr. Vicks. I did weigh in on him, and it will be interesting to see where your Venom in Aries falls on my take.

      Happy New  Year!

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        You can also weigh in on the Hula Holiday if you like.  Nothing like sticking the taxpayers with more than $1.5 million in “non-personal” charges for the little vacation in these tough economic times. Well, tough economic times unless you live on Park Avenue.  Or hope to.  I suspect he hopes to. I suspect he will given how much he’s given to Wall Street.  Which no doubt will give back. Enjoy, Mr. President. You will not be getting my vote ever again. For anything. Or for anyone from Chicago. For anything.  

        Happy New Year to everyone. Well, almost everyone. 

  22. avatar HauntedLady says:

    Sorry to hear about your cold. I hope you have a happy New Year in spite of it. Watch some good movies, drink a lot of orange juice, eat your chicken soup, sleep a lot and all should be well shortly. I’ll cross my fingers for you.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Haunted One…I am feeling much better today, at last.  Thank you.  Wonton soup is good for a cold, too.

  23. avatar Charles Casillo says:

    Your trees are always beautiful.  Your trees are Mae West.  They don’t know what to wear so they wear everything.  If I ever go to the Academy Awards I want you to dress me, Wow.