It’s been about 20 years since my husband and I have had a real Christmas tree. We went artificial when fiber optic trees were introduced. We loved how the lights looked. Truly gorgeous. Our toddler children also loved it.

The biggest drawback? Oh my Lord, that tree was heavy. It literally had small cables. The tree broke down into one segment, weighing about 1,000 pounds. OK, maybe 75 pounds. But heavy! And that weight, ultimately, proved to be the tree’s downfall, literally and figuratively. We were vaguely thinking of replacing it one year when it collapsed right after we set it up. The construction flaw was that the attached stand could no longer support the weight of the fiber optic cables.

Our next tree was an absolutely beautiful tree with “normal” lights. The lights had three settings, all manipulated with a button you stepped on. First step gave you all-white lights; second, solid pink, blue, red, yellow and purple lights; third step had the lights gradually transition from white, to multi-colored, to blinking multi-colored.

We have had that tree for an astounding 12 years. All the lights lit up, it was a perfect height and we still like it. So this year, we didn’t even consider all the new LED trees in stores, no matter how pretty. That was until I unzipped the bright red Christmas tree storage bag I bought three years ago. We had stored it on the beams in the garage. Off the floor and all sealed. I thought it was safe.

I was wrong.

My husband and son were still in the garage, getting the Christmas bins and lugging them into the house. I unzipped the tree bag, ready to pull it out for construction. I opened the bag. And I froze. There was a giant tangle of twigs, fuzzy things, seeds and stuff in the branches. A mouse nest.

After I froze, I freaked out. And started yelling for my husband as I hopped from foot to foot in what was a pantomime of a horror dance.

“All we have to do is shake it out and vacuum all the stuff up,” said the husband.

“Are you nuts?” I said. Out loud. No filter.

“Seriously, it is fine,” he responded.

He shook it. I vacuumed.

Fifteen minutes later, the tree was assembled and plugged in. About a third of the lights wouldn’t light.

“The mice peed on the tree and shorted the lights,” I declared.

“No,” said the patient hubby. “This is an old tree. The lights are just going out. We’ll buy a new one for next year.”

That mouse-tree sat undecorated in the living room for two days. I finally cracked and called the husband as he was driving home from work. “I can’t stand it,” I said (not at all dramatically). “The toxic tree has to go. It was peed on by mice.”

Four stores later, I declared defeat. No trees caught our fancy. Too small. Too big. Too “Charlie-Brownlike.” Too expensive. Too cheap.

Two more days of the undecorated toxic tree in the living room. Then I had the brain flash of looking on Amazon. All the green trees were pathetic.

So what did I do? I bought a silver tree.

One. Silver. Tree.

“Just this year,” I told the horrified hubby. “Next year, we will go green again.”

I must admit, I’m excited. It is due for delivery any day now. This could be memorable!

Now I have to figure out what to do with the mouse-house. Unfortunately, I think it has to be trashed.

But the memories made under that tree? Priceless.

Contact this reporter at editor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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