It came and went like a flash.
We typically Do Christmas Slow around here, but well, this Christmas was more than slow.
It kind of didn't happen.
Basically, our Christmas didn't go as planned. In many ways.
Instead of Visions of Sugarplums, Parties, and Ho Ho Ho, our Christmas was:
Detox, a Broken Tree, and the Dinner that Wasn't.
I could say that ours was the Christmas Gone Wrong, and give you some tips about what to do so that you don't end up in the same situation that we did, but…..well, you'll get the idea as you read on.
Every year, Christmas is a bit of a hard time for me for the following reasons:
We live far away from any remaining extended family.
My husband is a professor, so he always has loads of end-of-the-semester grading to do.
We reside in a city where almost everyone (besides us) has relatives (meaning they all have plans).
My birthday is 11/23 and our anniversary is 12/30, so between my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, our anniversary, and New Year's, there's just a little too much going on.
However, this year was particularly hard for us. For one thing, we are in the middle of choosing a church, so we feel pretty disjointed and weren't sure where we would go on Christmas for church services, but there were even more things that really threatened to “steal Christmas,” a la The Grinch.
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Here's what happened.
#1 – The Detox
It all started about a month before Christmas.
I had ordered some of Miessence's heavy duty Fermented Superfood Probiotic thinking that it was time to change up my probiotic routine. I remembered how it had really worked well for me before and figured I'd give it another go.
So I took it. For the whole month. And things started happening.
At the same time, I had also backed off of taking Betaine HCl with every meal. I was basically thinking that I had done a lot of healing and that I could handle taking less most likely.
Anyhow, when the fermented food probiotic was done, I moved to Miessence's Powdered Superfood Probiotic and things really started happening.
I started having a resurgence of some mild rosacea and then well, my lips started drying out. Badly.
We're not talking dry lips. We're talking Sahara Lips. Like No Amount Of Lip Balm Is Gonna Do Nothin' Lips.
I'd had this before and was sure I knew what it was.
Very often, when I have some kind of candida die off, my lips will get incredibly, nothing-you-can-do-to-help-them dry. And that's where we were at.
I used this DIY Lip Scrub a few times and that helped minimally, but the severe chapping came right back.
So I was really stirring things up.
I decided to push it harder.
Call me crazy.
I mean, it's the Holiday Season, and here I am forcing myself to do deep healing or detox or whatever?
Yup – not really smart.
But I was determined.
If something needed to die, I was going to kill it.
My lips got worse and then they got better, but I started to have a slight reaction on my eye. That made me nervous. Even if I wanted something to die, I wasn't sure I wanted the evidence on my eye, ya' know?
So I backed off the ferments and decided to try some Diatomaceous Earth, which is known for its detox capabilities.
I started off with a very very small dose (only 1/2 tsp), since I hadn't felt well at all on 1 Tbsp a day.
And then very quickly I was seriously having Herxheimer Reactions.
I won't go into all of the details, but let's say that I felt like I had a mild version of the flu and it all was a recipe for being somewhat of a Grinch.
I pretty much didn't want to do anything but feel better.
I'll share more about the Diatomaceous Earth later, but eventually I started feeling better and was glad that I had pushed through. For now, though, if you're interested in reading more, the testimonials on this site are a very interesting read.
Clearly, there is more work to be done on the health front. But then again, I think that we all have that going on, right?
#2 – The Tree
Enter–the Christmas Tree.
Actually, now that I think about it, every tree that we have had has a funny story attached to it….so I'll start out by sharing a little about Tree #1 and its sad fate.
Tree #1 came to us in a funny way.
I am allergic to pine (I take after my mother in this way) and so we always had an artificial tree. I've dreamt of going out and cutting down a tree, but it just doesn't happen in our family.
Soon after getting married, my husband and I moved to Oklahoma where he got his first professorial job. The salary was exceedingly low (we qualified for public aid) and well, things were tight.
But I wanted a tree.
One thing that really bothered us was that we lived in Campus Housing and it was mandated that we purchase and pay for cable TV, even on my husband's meager salary. But there were 2 bright spots to that. One was that when tornados hit, we could see the trajectory of the storm's devastating path.
The second was this guy.
Seriously, Bargain Barn was our friend.
We would sit and watch this guy auction off all kinds of things from baby goods to home decor to feminine products. (There was something unbelievably riotous about hearing this guy auction off pad with “wings” in his Okie accent!)
When you're broke and your idea of a date night is sharing a McDonald's ice cream cone (this was in my pre-healthy eating days), then you settle, ya' know? 🙂
It is from Bargain Barn Guy that we bought the tree. Cheap.
Plus loads of fabulous Gold Ribbon, much of which still remains to this day. If you ever get a gift from me with gold ribbon on it, you'll have Mr. Bargain Barn to thank for it.
Sadly, this is the only last vestige remaining of this hilarious show.
Years ago, we had a very unfortunate thing happen to Tree #1. We loaned it to a church for their Christmas display and somehow our tree stand got lost in the process. They insisted that they never got it, but our tree stand was gone. Not in the house and not at the church.
My husband, knowing nothing about tree stands (and how easy it is to replace them), figured that the tree was a goner and decided he didn't want to go and pick the tree up, so it got donated.
So my boys and I started on “The Great Christmas Tree Hunt,” which took hours and hours and miles and miles on the car as we drove from one store to another, trying to find a tree that was affordable and didn't look completely unattractive.
It wasn't an easy job.
Tree after tree, store after store, and still–no tree.
Finally–we found it, at a Second Hand Store, south of where we lived.
The tree was lovely and looked quite real and was just what I had hoped for.
And it was pre-lit. 🙂
We went home, decided on the tree, called the store owner and committed to it after asking the Store Owner if it was easy to set up and take down, to which she responded, “Yes.” So we proceeded to drive down and get it.
When we arrived, she had the tree perfectly boxed up to go.
That was the end of the perfection and ease, however.
Since that fateful day, every Christmas, my husband has regretted that purchase. And that's putting it mildly.
The tree was the “hooked” kind, so each branch had to be put in individually, but here's the kicker—it was pre lit. So the lights were all connected. Not good.
When you tried to put the tree together or take it apart, the lights would get all tangled up in the branches and took numerous hours and tremendous frustration to erect; basically, it was a great way to start off the Christmas season on the wrong foot.
(Moral of this story–it's easier to replace a tree stand than to live with a high-maintenance Christmas tree!)
So…….this year, 2 days before Christmas (yes, I have very good timing), we still didn't have the decorations on Tree #2.
I wasn't sure I liked where the tree was and so I decided, instead of lugging the tree around the living room, to lay the tree down on its side. Why? I don't know. But I did it.
When I picked the tree back up, the top was CROOKED.
I figured I just had to straighten it out, the way you would “fluff” out any artificial tree.
But fluff, it would not.
The Tree. Was. Broken. Broken to the point that I would have to weld it and it still might not work.
I was mortified. But when I told my husband, he was thrilled.
“Praise God!!!” he said. “Let's buy a new one!”
(Side note – Oh how I WISH I had a photo of the broken tree top. I don't know what came over me that I didn't take one. I suppose I was just devastated about what I had done and then my husband was adamant that we get that tree out of our house asap…..so it slipped my mind until after it was gone :(.)
Of course I was not in the best of moods, thinking I'd wrecked Christmas. Here it was, 2 days before, and we had no tree.
I remembered that just prior to our putting the tree up, however, that I had been on Craigslist and there was someone clearing out his Christmas decor business and that there was a 7.5 foot tree reduced from $480-ish to $140-ish. So I hopped back on Craigslist and hoped for the best.
But the tree. was. gone.
Heart in stomach.
Something made me check pages 2 and 3 of my Craigslist search, and there it was. A tree. And this one was reduced down to–get this–$39!
I called the number and the man said he had a few trees left and we could even come over that night if we wanted to.
So, we did. We all hopped in the van, and though the weather was quite bad, we went.
And in the makeshift display area off the rear of the seller's house, was…..our new tree.
It looked quite like Tree #2, but well, it wasn't broken (ha), and it wasn't pre-lit. AND it was cheap!
We ended up having a long (very long) talk with the retired man and got along famously with him. Plus, there was another smaller tree that I fell in love with.
That one too was reduced to only $39, and I was pretty sure that I knew exactly where I would put it.
Here it is, nestled in the corner of one of our rooms.
I also bought a wreath and some ornaments, and our youngest really wanted some lights so we “splurged” on green, red, and blue lights for him.
He ended up decorating our Sun Porch and the boys' room with them.
These lights now make me sooooo happy!
And well, that “Easy to Assemble” Tree that threatened to ruin our marriage every Christmas (just kidding) is now GONE :).
Oh, and there's more to the story of that night.
Saved by Technology
As we left the makeshift Christmas Tree Outlet, my husband said “Oh no! We're almost out of gas!”
We literally had only 7 miles worth of gas left and it was bad bad weather.
Not sure what to do, our youngest remembered that you could check on your cell phone to see where the nearest gas station is–so we did. And thankfully, we were able to find a station before we were stranded.
Yes, finding these trees was a blessing, but I didn't want to be stranded with them in the middle of a very cold winter in the Midwest.
The saga continues. I'll be back hopefully tomorrow with the rest of the story as you read how our family fought to save Christmas from the many foes that strove to destroy it.