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Evolution of the Franzen "Ugly" Tree

There's a "Charlie Brown" Tree, and then there's the Franzen "Ugly" Tree...

It started out as a silly joke. We were ticked off at the going rate of Christmas Trees, so Eric went out and cut one down (far left). It was one of the most ridiculous things I'd ever seen and we decorated it in the most ridiculous of ways:

It was our "tacky" tree - our thumb-to-the-nose to the expensive "perfect" trees Lowes, the tree lots, and tree farms were selling. We put it in the front window so that everyone who drove/walked by in the evenings would see an oddly-shaped, crazy red glow coming from our home. There still *is* a crazy red glow in the window to this day, but it's Ernest's (the turtle) basking lamp, not a tree...

It was so novel, that last year, Eric decided to go get another wonky tree (top photo, middle), even though I had figured we'd just go w/ a small potted tree in the living room. Well, he got the sad tree before I could get the potted tree, so the "ugly" tree won. And this one was so sadly sparse, that I had no idea how I was going to make the poor thing look remotely decent (which, after the previous year, I was determined to do).

I think I did a pretty good job given what I had to work with! I used very lightweight ornaments (the branches were so flimsy) and strung together short "chains" of cranberries (I was going to do one long garland, but the poor tree nearly buckled under the weight) that I hung vertically. I had wanted to do a popcorn garland b/c of how light that is, but I was afraid our crazy cat would eat it.

Anyway, it turned out pretty well and I liked that I could see through it onto the deck... It had a very light feeling about it all around. But I was kind of done with the ugly tree thing.

But Eric wasn't.

I meekly mentioned that this year I thought I'd go with another simple, potted tree that we could replant after the holidays. If you could have seen how his face fell at the news of no "wild" tree, you would have buckled as fast as I did. So I said, "Ok, how about just a NARROWER tree this year? Like one that doesn't take up half of our little living room?" He agreed.

So when my sister and her kids came over for Thanksgiving (my gravy was bomb, btw), I sent Eric and the kids on a mission to find our next, perfect "ugly" tree. And I have to say, I'm impressed.

The tree they chose was not only narrower at the base so it doesn't stick out too far into the living room, but it's conical in shape so it even resembles a Christmas tree (top photo, far right)!! And it's sparse, just like last year's so I can still see "through" it onto the deck.

I haven't decorated it yet, but that's happening soon... And I'm actually excited to try to make it look even better than it already does (though maybe it would be cool to just keep it bare). I'm glad I didn't give up on the "ugly" tree tradition that Eric started a couple years ago. I like what it's become and how it's softened me to things that "don't look like the other." Our "ugly" tree is perfect. And I love it.

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