Matt doesn’t ask for much. He’s not a materialistic guy. So when he puts in a request I sort of try to take notice and maybe make it happen. Sometime back in November he mentioned a couple times how nice it would be to have the Christmas tree up for Thanksgiving dinner. He thought it would be cozy. Of course I initially scoffed but after he brought it up a second or third time I thought maybe it might be a nice idea: Thanksgiving dinner in this new pad, tree lights twinkling in the corner, me in my apron as the perfect hostess of the perfect afternoon family gathering.
As always in my visions I failed to consider reality. In this case it was our three kitten-cats.
Upon bringing our tree up from the basement and opening the box the cats were ravenous with excitement. We took out the tree, assembled it, fluffed it and plugged it in. It was truly beautiful. Until about 10 minutes later when Theo, the alpha-cat, climbed up into it, felled it and then started bawling in victory. I sternly told him this was a very bad idea for fun, squirted him with the water bottle designated for cat no-no’s and proceeded to put away the tree box. I had absolute faith that after our talk the cats would respect my boundaries and our tree would live unmolested in the corner until the New Year.
Apparently the effers thought little of my words. The tree became their command center. They lounged in the branches like panthers and took huge joy in bringing it down and pulling apart the sections. Finally by mid-December I became discourage and one day did not right it after a particularly harsh tree death. I figured we could go without or maybe paint a tree on the wall. Except when I papered the corner of the room to prep it for the painting the cats took to hurling themselves at the paper, clawing their way down like pirates on a sail. Once the paper fell off the walls they very much enjoyed pouncing upon one anther and leaving shreds in their wake. Needless to say my never huge Christmas spirit took a beating.
So after a week of a dead tree on the ground and paper strewn about I had an idea. Why not put a wee tiny tree on a table, add some other holiday-ish items and call it all good? Having nothing was too depressing and the cats seem to respect the strict no counter policy. (At least they do when I’m in the room and they hear the trigger of the squirt bottle. Other members of the family say they’ve seen the cats willfully, and joyfully, violating my rule.) I thought they would associate this new counter with the kitchen ones and know that their feline butts would be swiftly squirted were they to explore the Christmas Table.
So that’s what we did. It was a throwback to the children’s Waldorf Days so we added some felted animals. The cats were mostly good about it. Sort of. Maybe not entirely. But it only needs to last through January 6 and then we’re done.