Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I had a great Christmas; I hope you did too! That's me above, looking unexpectedly like a figure on a 50s jazz album.

Our tree this year was about 6', in other words, way too short. Proper trees should be awe-inspiring because that's the quality that Christmas itself possesses. Never, ever allow a short person to buy your tree. All trees look tall to someone like that, and that disqualifies them as objective buyers.

A proper tree scrapes the ceiling. A proper tree is so big that that it leaves no room for people. A proper tree is hard to get through the door and provokes endless arguments among family members. A proper tree scratches furniture, knocks things off shelves, and gets sap all over fingers. Proper trees are expensive, and most people will experience years when they can't afford them, but families who've had a good year tempt the wrath of the gods when they try to chintz. Better to skimp on presents than skimp on the tree.

And presents...this is the year that I'll be remembered as a bum because I got my wife a digital video recorder. Her girlfriends call and ask what she she got and there's always a long pause when she tells them, followed by "He got you.....WHAT?" Somehow it got around that only beasts buy their wives electronics.
It happened because I had to do all my shopping at the last minute and I found myself in a giant electronics warehouse with a loudspeaker saying, "The store will close in 20 minutes. Please bring your purchases to the front!" I frantically rushed around looking for something she might at least tolerate. They started to dim the lights and salesmen were nudging people out. I grabbed the first thing I saw that looked like it might work out...and the upshot is that I'm a bum. Friends of my wife won't even look in my direction.

I told this to my neighbor and he said, "Why didn't you get her a gift certificate for some beauty treatments in a spa? You know, one of those places where they put mud and cucumbers on you?" I have to admit that I thought of that but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I'm a guy and like most guys I'd rather set myself on fire than go into a place like that. Oh well, I'll make it up to her this weekend... but the blemish will remain for years, I can tell.

Anyway, everything else about the holiday was great! What a really profound time Christmas is! I'll write about it later!
By the way.... have you ever noticed how Christmas trees mirror the personality of the person who trimmed them?

I imagine that a guy who looked like this (above) would have a tree...

...that looks like this (above). It's a tidy tree with evenly spaced, tasteful balls.

I imagine that a woman who looked like this (above), would have a tree that looked...

Like this (above). It's the tree equivalent of a poodle.

On another subject, here's a tree (above) that isn't a tree at all. It's a step-ladder!


Katie said...

Merry Christmas once again, Eddie! I like your tree theories! And it's always hard to buy good presents...every year I have the hardest time getting stuff for my brother and dad.

And speaking of spa treatments...Luke actually sucked it up last year and bought me a luxurious massage at one of those super girlie froo-froo places...I was so proud that he made it through whatever torment it caused him. Of course, as I was leaving the place, they stopped me, informing me that the massage hadn't been paid for. I guess he ORDERED it, but was so hasty to end the experience that he forgot to pay. Oh well! It's always the thought that counts! :)

Jenny said...

"Never, ever allow a short person to buy your tree. All trees look tall to someone like that, and that disqualifies them as objective buyers."

Boy, you've really got it dead wrong here, buster.
I always pick the tree. My trees are always well over 6'...I'd get an 8 footer if I could afford it and if it'd fit in the living room. How dare you! And since when are you all that tall yourself? Does John pick your tree? Eh, this one won't fly.

If the thing were truly done right a la Victoria and Albert style(after all, they really began the Tree thing), the tree would only have to be a medium size but stood upon a table, making it truly ceiling-high. Lover though I am of Dickensian effect I've never been able to bring myself to do it that way, though. I'm always too tempted to try and get the most beautiful, tallest tree I possibly can.

Too bad too that you cringe at the thought of stepping into a spa of any sort; there's just as much fun in a sauna and rubdown for a man as for a woman, last time I checked. "Cucumbers and mud" indeed! A good massage is h-e-a-v-e-n.

Did you get anything special this year? I did, I'm happy to say. Many strange, exotic and rare little items-the best kind of presents. I collect old postcards(pre-WW1), and was given a beautiful selection of Christmas ones, most with personal, carefully written in ink sentiments telling freinds how the weather was and such, circa 1904. Even the simplest things were elegant then.
It was lovely that it was so cold and blustery, but if only it would go nuts and snow here as happens a few times a century. I saw that it snowed in Paris on Christmas day...sigh.

PS: Happy Boxing Day, Eddie!

Anonymous said...

That 'poodle tree' is made from stacked styrofoam balls with toothpicks stuck into them, then sprayed with fake snow. This tabletop decoration circa 1967 was a major cause of holiday depression.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Katie: That's hilarious! And you're right...Luke's sacrifice in setting it all up was impressive. I'm dying to do a post about the difficulty of buying presents.

Jenny: Holy Cow! I never knew that Victorians put their trees on tables! Maybe I'll try that one of these days!

The best present I got from my family was an Ipod Classic. I've already subscribed to a hundred podcasts, which hardly made a dent in the pod's storage capacity.

I also got a webcam. The image is pixilated and the color isn't much but I'll experiment and see if that's fixable. Surely this isn't how most YouTube videos are shot!

Vintage cards are a great present! The quality and content of the artwork and even the texture of the cards themselves tell you a lot about the people who made them.

Steve Schnier said...

Hey Eddie,
I like the tree in your first picture. It's not only very cute, but portable.

Marlo Meekins said...

Eddie, merry christmas to you too! i miss you dearly!!! But i will visit. This post is really cool- the tree comparisons are hilarious!

Jorge Garrido said...

The only rule for trees I have are that fake trees are forbidden, I don't care WHERE on the planet you live.

Maybe some thing leather for your wife, Eddie? Leather is always a good present, I got my father a leather wallet, belt and gloves and a (non-leather) pyjama set which he seemed to like. I love that the idea that an animal was killed just so WE humans could have the best in life, it's so luxurious. Plus leather smells awesome and looks badass, especially leather jackets.

Jenny: That postcard collection sounds so romantic! Isn't reading old personal notes fascinating? In Rome class wer read some personal correspondences from BC times and it was so interesting. One guy referred to his wife, "beloved Ophelia" which tore my heart out.

Eddie: Ipod Classic are great, aren't they? Who needs tv and photos on you Ipod? Not me! I'd rather have lots of simple audio storage! I got the Looney Tunes v. 5 collection for Christmas and enjoyed youre commentary on it!

Kris said...

I'm always kind of baffled by women who want jewelry or cutesy little knick-knacks or pink girly stuff. But I was always a tomboy. You're not alone, Eddie--I would have to be dragged into one of those beauty spa places.

I LIKE electronics as gifts, and to be honest I think a DV recorder is not a bad gift for a lady, even one who isn't that "into" electronics. Every woman in my family seems to really love doing home movies.

Kris said...

P.S. If you want to shoot YouTube videos, you should use your wife's new DV camera. :)

Ross Irving said...

I have a lot of respect for anyone at any age.

That being said, I was wondering how old you were, Eddie. Are you John's age, like 52, 53 years old? No offense.

Right now, I wish I was in my early twenties.

Also, I like that picture of you looking at the tiny tree with the large ornament.

I'm glad you had a great Christmas.

As far as buying a gift card for someone like your wife, I don't think I would have done that if I ever have a wife. To me, it feels like I'm throwing in the towel, saying "I couldn't pick up on any hints you might have made honey, so you can buy the presents yourself".

By the way, what did you get for Christmas?

Nate said...

Step ladder?! That's clearly a pyramid of beer kegs. Which also explains all the cases of beer with bows on them sitting under the "tree"

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

By the way, I live in the frigid untamed wilderness of small town Canada, so we can GO AND CUT DOWN OUR OWN TREE!!! Take that.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, and Uncle Eddie, you always MENTION your wife, but you've never introduced her! Isn't she willing to show herself in Blogland? Just wondering.

Anonymous said...

fry's is awesome... but it sucks to get that last minute shopping in. i work nrea there, well right across the bob hope planey port thingy...

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Jorge: Thanks! Ipods certainly are wonderful things. Kali says the Classics vary in quality, the 80G ones using a mini-disk which breaks. I'll try to treat it well so that doesn't happen.

Marlo: Thanks! If you were here now think of the photo essays we could do!

Anon: Ah, styrofoam!

Ross: How old am I? How OLD am I?????? There's no way that I'm anwering that!

Kris: The voice of reason! Thank you!

Ross: No one in my family wants me to talk about them on the net. Weird isn't it?

Nate/ Beer kegs? So that's what that was!

Anon: Fry's is great! Is that company all over or just in California?

Steve: I had that tree when I was a kid, I think. It's really old.

Kelly Toon said...

I got some charming christmas tree ornaments from my dad, various adorable animals with their be-whiskered faces peeping out of stockings with little handwritten messages of good cheer. I found him a rad, cherry red and white volkswagon bus model, which he went crazy over. I got the "Clean Cartoonists' Dirty Drawings" book from my husband, along with several of the new Looney Tunes dvds . . . I got a glass pipe from my mother. And several other wonderful, interesting, useful, humorous gifts.

I need to take a picture of our tree and send it your way, I think you would like it. We inherited the tree from my in-laws, and while I do love a live tree, I have been feeling lame about killing a tree just so it can be thrown streetside a month later.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Kelly: I love hearing what friends got for Christmas! I never heard of glass pipes. Are they for smoking?

Cory and Tashina said...

Christmas trees expensive? heck we got an 8' almost 9' tree for 20 bucks.. pretty good deal eh?.. we couldn't even fit it in the house!! and it was all sappy, it defiantly knocked things over and we didn't even have a dining for a whole month!

Anyways, sad to hear about the recorder thing..What ever happened to "it's the thought that counts"(haha) you should have gotten here a nice robe! Thats what I got my wife; and Im still getting thanked for it!..... cant go wrong with a nice warm robe!

Kali Fontecchio said...

What's wrng with plastic trees? Ours was, and I thought you liked it :(

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

cory: A robe!!! Not a bad idea! I wish I'd thought of it!

Kali: Your tree was terrific, one of the best I've seen! There are lots of exceptions to the rules I put up, but if I listed them all the post would read like a legal document.

Ross Irving said...

Sorry I asked how old you were, Eddie.

I won't ask something like that again.

Laura said...

He's clearly a strapping young lad no matter how you cut it.


and, Yay christmas trees!

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

laura: Thank-you, Laura! I'm not often called "strapping," but I like it!

BTW, I like that collage on your site!