ONTD Political

I starved my Christmas tree of water, so fir surgery was called for to save the holiday.

I'm writing you from the scene of Christmas tree surgery.

It wasn't pretty. But it had to be done.

The Fraser fir came home with us two Saturdays ago, and spent its first week in our home sitting bushily in the corner of the den. The couch moved over to make room. The rug gathered pine needles. The tree drank a gallon of water a day.

And then I tried to kill it.

It wasn't intentional. I'm not some Grinch who waited for the moment to strike, or Charlie Brown, who could never pick a healthy tree anyway. But this weekend, between brunch, Christmas shopping, and a late dinner on the lower East Side, I let the tree run dry.

The Christmas tree message boards; an active online community; caution against this sort of thing. "With proper care, a tree should last five weeks," they say. "But, whatever you do, don't stop watering. Even ONE DAY will do it."

Exposed to hours of air, the cut end of the trunk had sealed itself over with sap. I added more water and crossed my fingers. Nothing. My tree was on a hunger strike.

"Don't worry about it," said Chris. "We only have two weeks left anyway."

But I couldn't help feeling the tree's pain. What I'd done was tantamount to letting a holiday party run out of punch.

Only that morning the tree had been admired by our brunch guests, and Chris' mom was sending ornaments from his childhood.

What was I going to do when they arrived? Hang them on bare, brittle branches, scattering what needles hadn't already dropped?

Monday morning, as soon as Chris had headed for the office, I went to the hardware store. The clerk rang up a drop cloth and a handsaw; a shopping list that seemed more "American Psycho" than "It's a Wonderful Life", but I was on a mission.

Walking back through Carroll Gardens, where the homes and storefronts were festooned with every conceivable garland and bauble, I remembered other Christmas trees I'd known.

There were the ones I helped my dad cut down, the one my friend Mia hauled up six flights of stairs to the apartment we shared, and the first I bought with Chris, back in 2009, the one we stuffed in the back of a Toyota Matrix Zip Car for the trip home.

Chris hadn't especially loved Christmas back then, or at least not at my holly jolly level of mania. But a tree became our prized tradition, and this year he was the one scouting the sidewalk lots before November had even come to a close.

With the drop cloth spread out on the living room rug, I heaved the seven-foot fir from its stand, toppled it on its side, and sawed a half-inch coaster from the bottom of the trunk. In a storm of needles and shatterproof ornaments, I lugged it upright again and, a few minutes later, fed it three carafes of perfectly lukewarm water.

The room was silent but for the burbling of the coffee maker. The street was empty outside. I plugged in the lights and sat for a moment, the aroma of the woods wafting around me.

"You were very brave," I said to the tree. "And no one will miss that half inch."

Graphic surgery picture at the source Considering the news that's been posted so far, I needed a lighthearted Christmas story.

Seriously, though, who gets a live tree two weeks before the holiday?
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