John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Oh Christmas Tree

Posted on December 26, 2018
My wife has seized the job of decorating the Christmas tree.

She is a perfectionist about the lights on the tree and rather than fight her over the honor of stringing them up, I defer to her judgement.

Throw me in that brier patch.

One thing that we both agree on is the color of the lights. Colored ones are so gauche. And so seventies.

Because she so fervently wishes to decorate the tree and I took it upon myself to undecorate it at the conclusion of its three week run in our living room.

I must say it was a great effort by the wifey and it won rave reviews among the Facebook commentators.

But because I am industrious sort of fellow, because we are going on a post-Christmas trip and because neither of us wants to leave a dried-out tree alone in our house unsupervised, I quickly put all the ornaments away, carefully but with all due haste before the Uber arrived.

Christmas tree, or at least our Christmas tree, is a subtle mix of family remembrances and great deals at our local Costco.

We have the obligatory White Sox ornament signifying my undying love for a mediocre baseball team that I cling to like a long-lost Teddy bear. We also have several Washington Nationals ornaments, showing our respect for the ever frustrating team that will rid itself soon of Bryce Harper.

We have Butch McGuire's orb. My wife threw a killer surprise birthday party there attended by none other than the Mayor if Chicago.

We have a couple of Irish ornaments. I think my mother gave them to us. She’s good that way.

My wife was able to stick a Villanova ornament on the tree this year. She is all about the Wildcats, her alma mater, especially after they won the National Championship twice in the last couple of years.

I would note that neither Marquette, where I graduated from nor Notre Dame, where I wanted to graduate from, have a place on our tree yet.

Because we live and work in our Nation’s Capitol, we all kinds of Presidential ornaments. The White House Historical society issues them every holiday season. I suppose the prudent thing is to keep them in their pristine boxes, but that’s not how we roll in our house. If you give us an ornament, we are going to use it.

There are ornaments our kids made in school and ornament from trips we have taken. I have a Polski ornament that I got in Krakow. We have something with a seashell they I hire came from Florida.

We have an ornament made from a clay footprint of my daughter when she was 2. I am not sure what happened with my son’s footprint. We also used to have an ornament that showed a picture of the ultrasound of my son. Not sure what happened with that one either.

My son, who is twelve, better start helping with the decorating committee or those Nationals ornaments might be in danger.

Taking of my son, we have a saxophone ornament and a soccer ball ornament. He still plays the Sax but would probably rather be still playing soccer. You can’t play them all, and we have him now focused on American sports (baseball and basketball). Come to think of it, we should get a basketball ornament. That would be cool.

We have several ornaments in honor of our various dogs who have been part of our lives. We have the Labrador ornament in honor of Sam, the poodle ornament in honor of Noodle, and we also have a small white dog ornament which predated, perhaps predicted the arrival of Clark Kent. We also have a bulldog ornament but this far no bulldog.

Of course, you can’t have every ornament that means something significant to life so we have several really big ornaments, bright red orbs, Kirkland brand, that I bought at Costco.

And we also have several very small ornaments that I believe were bought at Target.

I look at these ornaments like a movie director would look at a crowd scene in a big epic. You can’t have everybody be the leading actor. And they add color to the scene.

When it comes to garland, we are a bit nonconformist. We have beads of different hues, some little green bells and some a string of life-savers. (I have no idea where they came from). We don’t do icicles and we don’t do the gold rows of garland. I don’t know why. It just seems to work out that way.

There was a year that it was just a pain in the butt and I threw the lights out with the tree. This year, though, I decided that was a complete waste of money. The lights are inexpensive thanks to our Chinese friends, but they are that inexpensive. And who knows how this China thing goes.

In any event, it’s always fun to take the Christmas tree down and take a walk down memory lane. Well, it was fun for me.