How Southern Living Saved My Christmas

December 25, 2015 | By | Comments (3)
Tacky tree

Photo: Steve Bender

Grumpy faced a conundrum. How to pick just the perfect Christmas tree to make this the very best Christmas of all time? Should it be a Fraser fir, blue spruce, Douglas fir, white pine, or a privet bush? And how should it be lit and decorated? LEDs? Magnolia leaves? Ribbons and bows? Candy canes? Grumpy couldn’t decide. Fortunately, the decorating experts in the Homes section of Southern Living provided the answers.

First, they said, don’t get a real tree. A real tree lasts only a week or two and then you throw it out on the curb. No, get an artificial tree! It lasts for years and years, even when stuffed into a cranny under your basement steps next to the lawnmower for 351 days a year. Every year it will bless you with memories of Christmases past.

But don’t get  just any artificial tree — especially one designed to look like a real tree when viewed from a distance of six miles. No, what you want is a white fake tree that appears covered with snow. Hang at least a dozen cheap, puny pink, purple, and blue ornaments on its branches. That way, when one or two fall off and smash as you’re lugging this thing up from the basement, you won’t care. A few purple ribbons hung randomly on the tree completes the look.

Now for the best part. The lighting! Notice you don’t see a whole lot of individual bulbs. That’s because this is a fiber-optic tree. Due to the miracle of modern technology, the fake needles themselves shift from pink to blue to green to yellow to white and then repeat. What a spectacle! In case you’re wondering, we bought our tree at Wal-Mart, where every day is Christmas!

Well, I hope my Christmas tree story has given you plenty of ideas about what you did wrong this Christmas and how to improve next year.

Grumpy's Gang

Grumpy, Brian, and Mrs. Grumpy. Photo: Kris Kringle

Happy Holidays from the House of Grumpy!


  1. Carol Hilton

    Dumping my real one hundred dollar tree today.Will spend all day vacuuming fir needles out of carpet and hand picking needles that vaccum doesn’t get. Many needles will be left behind, will dry out, becoming sharp little knives and somehow migrate to the traffic areas of the carpet, where I,barefooted,will be stabbed in my foot….while letting the dogs out,at three in the morning. This will happen several times during the year, even though I have been on hand and knees, with magnifying glass and can’t find a single needle. I think of it as Christmas tree karma. Revenge for being cut down and let slowly die,for my pleasure. Next year, it’s back to the fake tree.

    December 26, 2016 at 7:50 am
  2. Lizana

    Good looking family photo, Grumpy. Happy New Year.

    December 30, 2015 at 9:46 am
  3. Kathleen

    That tree actually looks pretty cool. Good taste has its place, but it can get predictable & pretentious after a while.
    Thanks for keeping it real & have a blessed New Year!

    December 28, 2015 at 2:46 pm

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