A real Charlie Brown tree

December 13, 2017


Leslie Anne Tarabella
Proof! Snow on the Gulf Coast!

I can freak out over a Christmas tree like no one else. Other things may get (literally) swept under the rug, but for some reason, my tree has to be perfect. I poke and fluff each branch daily up until about 11pm on December 24th to make sure it is the loveliest tree of all. But this year, something snapped and all I wanted was an imperfect, wobbly, lopsided Charlie Brown tree. Maybe I inhaled too much glitter to think straight or perhaps the fumes from spray painting magnolia leaves got to me, but all I knew was that I did not want another stiff, upside down-ice cream cone-looking tree that wasn’t even native to our area.


Maybe it was the nostalgia of my grandparent’s trees they chopped down themselves, usually a pine or cedar, or maybe it was just exhaustion from society always demanding perfection that made me recoil at the thought of a magazine-perfect tree.

Leslie Anne Tarabella
A little scrawny and bald in spots, but no doubt, relaxing and stress-free.

Even though I was confident in my seasonal rebellion, I worried my status as a member of the Committee for the Preservation of Loveliness would suffer as soon as they laid eyes on a less than perfect tree at my annual Christmas cookie soiree’, but who were they to judge? Half of them use a decorating service to put up their trees. I would cry if someone else decorated my tree because I look forward to it all year long.

You’d think it would be easy to find an ugly, scraggly tree, but actually, without a wintry forest of my own to traipse through in search of a natural-looking evergreen, I had to visit tree lots where all the offerings were perfectly trimmed-up triangles with branches so dense, ornaments could only perch on the tips.

I finally came across a cut-it-yourself field full of perfect trees Martha Stewart would love, but taking a chance, I asked the attendant if he had any ugly trees. He just laughed and said, “Come with me,” so I followed   Thanks for clicking Here to finish reading the story at AL.com.

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  1. Out in Seattle, my father and brother would go up in the woods behind the house to find a tree. It was always raining so it was a quick excursion. Mother was grateful if the tree stood upright. I would bring my little ones over to Grandma’s to help with the decorating which usually involved slinging handfuls of tinsel unto the tree. They were rewarded with homemade cookies and cocoa and mom always waited until they left before rehanging each individual tinsel on the branches. Years later, when my granddaughter would help me decorate our tree, she could only hang the ornaments half way up and it took her all afternoon. It was beautiful.

  2. And Merry Christmas one and all! PS – I finished your book! Part V – Our Divine Southern Churches – Vacation Bible School is quite the productions these days. If you ever want to see a real mermaid or walk through Noah’s Ark, you can find one at any week during the summer. The best part of children performing at church is well… the fact that you never know what will happen. The mistakes make it even more heavenly! I am not taking kindly to my kids new fangled auditorium churches. For one, I now have to carry ear plugs in my purse and yes, how many times can they sing the same song, over and over! But hey, they are there and I am happy! Maybe one day the Majorettes will show up back in church too! You just never know!

    1. HA! and HA! again!!! Mermaids is a new one to me for VBS. I’ll have to look into that Bible story! Thank you so much for buying and reading the book. Your comments and feedback are precious to me and have kept me laughing!

  3. Fantastic! You know, I was having those same thoughts for pretty much the same reasons, but I did not follow through. We have just dragged a tired old fake out of the attic today, with me bitching all the way, “I am not in the mood for this — I have not one bit of spirit for this this year!” It all seems so tired and tawdry somehow. And then we started. I plopped a few things here and there. Still not feeling it. Then Ray started looking through the CDs for my little stereo that we dug up a few months ago, and started handing me Christmas music. We got a surprise with the first one — it wasn’t Christmas at all, but a Keith Urban album with one of my favorite love songs about wanting to “die in your arms”. I guess someone put it in the wrong CD case before. But then the Celtic music started and something changed. We were dancing around and singing, and it all started coming together, and before you know it, I had forgotten I was the Grinch/Bitch from Hell! So — I may or may not decorate that sad fake tree. I might have to go find my own Charlie Brown. We will see what tomorrow brings.

    1. Oh, good for you Ellen! Music tames the savage Christmas woman, so I’m glad you found the tunes. Whatever you decide for your tree, I’m sure it will be a masterpiece! Let the creativity begin!

  4. I love this Leslie Anne, and your tree really does look incredible! I actually cringe when I see designer trees with everything perfectly coordinated and the presents are wrapped to match the couch~ Christmas is messy, and the tree should be imperfect and full of memories and family ornaments collected over the years. Mine has paper ornaments the children made many years ago, and now new ones made by my grandchildren and I think it’s beautiful! Our tree actually has one branch sticking out that is much longer than any others, but we decided it gave our tree personality and character!

  5. I adore your tree! This is our first Christmas in 56 years of marriage not to have a real Christmas tree. Being the daughter of a garden center owner whose passion was the Christmas tree season, I grew up on trees from Canada that were gloriously non-triangle shaped. And then my husband took over the garden center and went to Avery County, NC each year and personally tagged each tree, including one for me that had to have plenty of spaces for ornaments to hang. He also was an artist at flocking trees and our son when he was about 10 years old flocked a true Charlie Brown tree that was mostly stalk with a few scraggly branches. A customer bought it!

    I hope you do set a trend, Leslie Anne! And I just put 2 copies of your book in my Amazon basket so will go there now and purchase them, along with one just written by another blog friend, Deborah.

    Merry Christmas to you,

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