2017-12-01 / Commentary

Tis the season for bungee cords

40–Something

You might be a redneck if...

...You use bungee cords to hold up the Christmas tree.

Well, I just might be a redneck because the fear of suffering through another tumbling Christmas tree incident forced me to put my bungee cords to good use this year.

Forgive me if I’m still paranoid from the Great Crash of ’08. Almost a decade later, the scars are still fresh, the ornaments are still missed, and my basset hound still runs... well... lumbers for cover when a North Carolina Frasier fur makes its annual appearance in our living room.

That 2008 Christmas tree was perfect before it became a pile of pine needles and glass. My children, who were ages six, nine, and 11 at the time, had done a masterful job helping decorate it. The lights were on, and all the ornaments, which included our first purchases as husband and wife, gifts, babies’ first Christmases, and the kids’ handmade ones, were dangling.

After we finished, we all stood back to admire the most beautiful tree any of us had ever seen. Unfortunately, while we were having our Norman Rockwell moment and patting ourselves on the back, neither my wife nor I noticed the cluster of heavy cloisonné ornaments dangling from the front branches.

The tree held strong for about four hours—long enough for all of us to be nestled “all snug in our beds”— before the cloisonné eventually overwhelmed the stand and sent our masterpiece crashing to the floor. It sounded like a giant Sequoia covered in glass and tinsel laying waste to our dining room.

The kids cried. I let a few unfortunate words slip out. My six-year-old son repeated those words, and suddenly, several dozen broken ornaments and a horizontal tree were not my only problems.

That’s why we’ve been very paranoid ever since. We’ve implemented certain protocols like making sure our tree has a flat, even stump. We’ve invested in a top-notch stand. The cloisonnés stay packed away, and we do our absolute best to evenly distribute the ornaments... even if half our tree backs up to a wall, and none of those ornaments on the backside ever see the light of day. They’re sacrificing for the greater good.

But sometimes the protocols don’t work. This year is a prime example. Despite monumental efforts to maintain a completely vertical tree, the 2017 edition just wants to lean right, and our angel on top looks like it’s trying to settle in for a long winter’s nap.

So, seeing that the barbells I put on the backside of the stand weren’t working, I resorted to a little country creativity...a little bumpkin building...and a little redneck rigging. I screwed two hooks in the nearby built-in shelves, wrapped the bungee cords around the tree, attached the cords to the hooks, and wallah... a Christmas Miracle!

Hey, it’s classier than duct tape, and I used two green cords to camouflage them a bit. Some may call that redneck. I call it genius. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and leaning Christmas trees call for bungee cords.

Our 2017 edition may bounce a bit, but it’s not going to crash.

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