Sunday, November 30, 2008

Can't See the Forest For the Tress....

"Can't see the forest for the tress. "

Have you ever heard this statement?

According to, it is "an expression used of someone who is too involved in the details of a problem to look at the situation as a whole."

For me, this has special meaning. It literally has to do with trees - Christmas tress that is.

I have Christmas Tree issues. It is not that I think they are cliche' or unimportant. I do not fuss about the needles messing up my carpet or clogging the vacuum hose. I do not have to make my tree look perfect. I don't really care about the color scheme or the spacing of the ornaments.

My issue is my stress over simply getting the right tree (a fresh cut tree) into our home and getting it to stay in and upright position through the holiday. It is not only stress, it is an obsession.

Now, we have had our fair share of tree disasters. My stress is not completely irrational. Our trees have needed to be leveled using bricks, and propped up using books. We have had to anchor them to the wall with fishing line and string. One year, even after straightening, anchoring and propping, the tree still fell over three times, sending me into an emotional spiral - all over a tree.

We have had years of panic when we had no tree just before Christmas. Years of plenty when two were delivered to our home. We've cut every type of tree imaginable from lots, farms and forests. We've traversed highways, freeways, roadways and avenues with an evergreen tied to our roof. We've bungeed, twined, roped and anchored them to the top of our car, saying silent prayers all the way home that when we arrived, our treasured tree would still be with us. We've even had the mishap of forgetting the tree and trying to drive the car into the garage - the house still bears the scar.

I am absolutely aware of my tree issues. Still, every November, I slip into my tree obsession. I get cranky, irritable, frustrated, upset, and completely bent on finding the right tree. So much so that I lose sight of what the tree represents. I get so focussed on the silly tree, that I don't see that the reason I enjoy it is because it represents the time that I get to spend with my kids decorating it. I am blind to the life stories that the ornaments tell- baby's first Christmas, the paper angels from preschool or the macaroni photo frame from first grade. I am so consumed that I don't consider that the tree represents a season of hope, love, and salvation.

My vision is so fixed on the tree, that I don't see the whole forest of what the tree represents. I can't see the forest for the tree.

Do you get so caught up in the details of the season that you forget what it is all about?


  1. Hysterical! It's almost like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, have you ever seen that movie? We have had to tie our tree to the vent or moldings on the wall to keep it upright. As the trunk softens, it usually leans. It used to bother me, but now it doesn't. It is what it is!

  2. So funny! I've had to do it all too. One tree I had just when I was out of college, had to be tied with a rope to a dry-wall screw we put in the window frame. None-the-less it fell the night of our big Christmas party...much to the revelers delight! Oh to be 22 again!


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