The Tannenbaum Tradition

If life had a soundtrack, finding the annual Christmas Tree would have the Nutcracker Suite playing in the background. It’s vaguely maddening, but in a delightful way.

We drive twenty five minutes into the county where I am sure there will be tree lots. I am right, for once. There’s an actual tree lot. We unload out of the car. The trees are 70 dollars. We’re in the rich part of town. Fuck that.

We load back in the car. Cue up the Nutcracker Suite, Holly Jolly Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock, and that song about the mom with cancer–we’re going around the entire beltway damn it. I will find a tree for $20. $25 at most.

Arrive at poor part of county. Damn inflation, even cheapest trees are still $30. But wait, we’re in a recession and prices are supposed to be falling. Eh, whatever. Tie ‘er the top of the Chevy, and tie ‘er tight. We got a long ride back into the city.


So ever since I was kid, I wanted to decorate with blue lights. Blue is an excellent cake frosting color, an excellent beverage color, and a swell color for the sky, but as a Christmas light, it’s a questionable choice. Unlike white lights, blue doesn’t have a spectral beauty, and it’s not a stronghold like red or green. Blue is a mellow color, kind of melancholy, but still bright. Kinda tacky, kinda childish, like generic M&M’s in those Keebler Rainbow cookies. I knew I had to have them on my tree this year. For good measure and bonus tackiness, I threw on a shit ton of tinsel. It’s a tribute to my grandmother, who knew how to throw down some tinsel.


My dream tree would be about a foot taller, maybe two feet taller. Hell, she would be bigger than the Griswold’s tree. Four ornaments to a branch. Singing ornaments, chirping ornaments, spinning ornaments, and a Budweiser Clydesdales ornament. As you can see, I do not have that many ornaments yet. It would be easy enough for me to take a trip to the thrift store and get a crapload of tree shits, but it’s important to me to procure meaningful ornaments year by year. I want my kids to one day fight over who gets to hang up the M&M dressed like Elvis.

I’ve made it a tradition to buy some special foods and drinks for decorating the tree. I put on the lite FM All Christmas station, put on an elf hat, and I call it a party–though it’s really just me and the girlfriend eating cheese and drinking booze that’s not Coors Light. The party is fancy, see? I spare no expense. Last year I got Hickory Farms. She puked. She swears the beef log is sketchy and her stomach can’t handle that processed meat shit. What-ev-er. So this year we got a meat and cheese tray that actually needed refrigeration. Spare. No. Expense.

And for the alcoholic portion of our meal, I got egg nog. I’ve learned from reading these wrappers that egg nog has an elephant’s day’s worth of calories. That’s why THE SURFING PIZZA’S noggy traditions are comprised of Silk Nog instead of that tempting spiced Giant brand in the yellow container.


In traditional egg nog, I have no idea if you’re supposed to mix rum, brandy, or whiskey–or if you’re supposed to bypass all of these and head straight for that totally sketch bottle of pre-liquored Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Nog. Captain mixes perfectly with Silk Nog though, and it’s really good. It’s my 2nd year including this concoction in my tree-adorning activities, and I endorse it. All the nutmeg flavor, no saturated guilt.

Unrelated, I learned today on the back of a PATIO Bean & Cheese frozen burrito wrapper that you’re supposed to use a food thermometer, puncturing the burrito in several places to make sure the internal temperature is 165 degrees. That sounds like something I’m making up, but I’m not shitting you. Just imagine busting out the thermometer on a rinky dink PATIO burrito like it’s the Christmas ham.

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