By Kris Neri at the Femmes Fatales
For everyone who celebrates something this holiday season, it’s usually a time of fun, spiritual reverence, and warm generosity. For those who celebrate Christmas, one of the most enjoyable aspects is decorating the Christmas tree, and one of the most interesting questions is: “Where should we put it?”
I’ve always thought the ideal spot would be right before a big window at the front of the house, so the inhabitants of the home would get to share their festivities with everyone who passes by. There’s a house like that in my neighborhood that kept their tree lit in the front window every night through July last year. I might quibble with their sense of time, that is not taking it down until August, but not the spirit of it. The sight of that tree in the window, with all it’s twinkling lights, always made me feel cheerful.
But we haven’t had a house like that — one with that enviable front window — for quite some time. In our last house in California, the living area was at the back of the house, as it is in our present Arizona home.
Surely many families have to move furniture around to clear out a good spot for it, and we do that as well, but a good wide tree doesn’t fit well in any of the places we make for it.
I wish now we’d thought about where the tree would go when we toured homes here. But no, we thought instead about where our various pieces of furniture would go for the rest of the year, never sparing even one thought about where we’d place the Christmas tree.
And we should have thought about it, since we looked for a house here in early December.
Realtors always tell their listed homeowners that while there are fewer buyers looking during the holiday season, they’re serious buyers, That was sure true for us. We had to find a house that week, since we had already accepted an offer on our Los Angeles home and the closing was fast approaching.
Let me tell you, sellers are serious at that time of the year, too. I don’t remember a single home being decorated for the holidays. None had a Christmas tree. Some were perfectly staged to extenuate the home’s best features and minimize the house’s shortcomings, while others were clearly in full moving mode, with boxes piled everywhere. The home we bought was one of the former. It was beautifully staged to emphasize its best features, like its soaring beamed ceilings, so we didn’t notice that it didn’t contain an idea spot for a Christmas tree. Well, not after our furniture moved in anyway. And none of the houses we looked at contained a tree, so nothing triggered that question in my mind.
I’m sure some people would have thought of it anyway. I’ve seen episodes of House Hunters, in which the buyers look for the perfect staircases for their kids’ prom photos, when they haven’t even conceived those children yet. But I had so many items on my To Do list that year, the idea of where to place something as ephemeral as a Christmas tree never made it to the top one hundred items on my list.
We didn’t consider where to put the tree until the following December, when we discovered it didn’t quite fit perfectly anywhere. So, once again, we’ll remove a table and wedge it partially in our living room, and partially in the foyer. And, sure, we inch around it there, but we don’t mind it too much. It’s still just as festive as it would be if we could have placed it before the perfect front window. Anyway, it’s the spirit that counts, right?
How about you? If you celebrate Christmas, do you have the perfect spot for your tree, or do you wedge it in somewhere less than perfect like do we?
Wishing you all warm and wonderful holidays, whatever your tradition.