Monday, December 08, 2008

grinch mom

As you all know, the holiday season is upon us. This makes it a bit more challenging to follow through on daily word count goals, but I'm determined not to let the distractions of holly and cookies and parties deter me from my plan. Well, most days, anyway.

I'm working on two chapters simultaneously. Chronologically, they dovetail, but in the real life of the characters, the scenes are separated by twenty years. But, as in real, real life, the scenes both take place during the holiday season. The centerpiece of each scene has to do with procuring and setting up a Christmas tree.

Kirk and I agreed that we wouldn't get a tree this year. Well, not a cut one, anyway. I brought home one of those potted numbers they sell at Trader Joe's. The ones small enough to fit in the plastic shopping bags they sell. My nine-year-old looked as though I'd (and I'm borrowing this line from something I read recently) just gave him raisins for Halloween.

"When are we getting the real one?" he wanted to know.

"Um, honey, we're not getting a dead tree this year," I said. I was hoping the word "dead" would conjur up a "green" context and he'd get that this gesture falls into the "recycle," "turn off the water while brushing your teeth," "bike to school instead of taking the car," messages.

But no. He said, his eyes nearly leaking tears, "But we always get a tree."

Not only am I wanting to skip the whole tree thing, but I don't intend on fulfilling his Christmas list, either. For instance, he's not getting an i-touch, nor is he getting a PSP. At least not from moi. Since he confessed to knowing the real deal about Santa, I figure, it's time to interject a bit more home and hearth into the holidays. We'll make cookies, watch old movies, go to the coast and to the mountains. Do things together instead of purchase and fuss and wrap and hustle.

"Well, honey," I said to my son, "You know, there's a recession. That means that we have to be careful about the money we spend. We have to make choices."

"I choose a Christmas tree," he said. "A real one." And by real, he meant cut.

This morning, before he woke up, I was eyeing the corner of the room, weakening my stance. The little Trader Joe's tree does look a little like a potted plant, even with the blue and white lights that weave around it.

Maybe a table top sized tree. One that will go from coffee table to ceiling. In the big picture, what's one more nod to normative tradition?

I wonder how this will play out in my novel.

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