Good Girls Don't Say Things Like That...

... but I do.

Victoria Carlson

Victoria Carlson
Burbank/Toluca Lake, California, USA
June 09
L.A. native. Single mother. Writer. Dog whisperer. Gemini. Crossword geek. Recovering Catholic. Novice Buddhist. Multi-tasker. Jedi Master. Currently working on a collection of short stories based upon personal experiences. Recent contributor to the L.A. Times and featured on


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DECEMBER 12, 2011 9:38PM

O, Christmas Tree

Rate: 7 Flag


Our little tree.

Here I am, barely eking it out, and what do I do? I plunk down sixty bucks for a Christmas tree. Yep. Instead of heading over to the big box home improvement store to pick up a  $40 tree like any responsible, budget-minded person would, I wound up at a small, family owned, boutique lot. And let me tell you, for twenty dollars more, I sure got a lot less tree. Yes siree! Hardly any bigger than my statuesque 5’3.

When it comes to Christmas, my daughter, like me, is quite the traditionalist. A significant part of our holiday tradition involves Santa and Sons, where we’ve been getting our tree since Olivia was a toddler. I have to admit, as far as Christmas tree lots go, Santa and Sons is kind of magical. How I love getting lost amid the make believe forest of towering nobles and majestic Douglas firs, the air thick with the heady scent of pine. As Olivia says, Santa and Sons "just feels like Christmas!" And for her, buying our tree there sparks the excitement of the holiday season. The thing is, you end up paying extra for that little bit of sugarplum fairy magic and extra is what I simply don’t have this year.

In my current economic situation, I find I’m a bit more willing to forgo tradition and make a few compromises for the sake of saving money. After seeing my friend’s beautiful seven-foot noble fir, for which she paid a reasonable $40, I suggested to Olivia that we too, get our tree from Lowe’s. Well, you’d think I’d desecrated the very sanctity of Christmas.

     “We are not going to Lowe’s to get our tree, mother. We have to go to Santa and Sons. It’s tradition!”

     “But we can’t afford Santa and Sons this year, sweetie. I wish we could, but we can’t.”

She left the room in a slight huff.

Olivia is quite aware of our financial situation and she knows we’re doing the best we can, but it’s not easy for her. Aside from a strict adherence to tradition, Olivia also doesn’t like change of any kind. Never has. I know she sometimes wishes things were back to the way they once were. I know she wishes we still lived in our big house with the pool and that her dad and I were still together and that grandma and grandpa were still around and that we could still have sushi once a week like we used to.

Nevertheless, Olivia also knows there's no going back and she’s ever so slowly beginning to accept the fact that change is inevitable, whether she likes it, or not. She’s finally learning, first hand, that change often occurs on a dime, when you least expect it, and when you’re nowhere near ready for it. I’m forever reminding her that change is one of the few constants in this life. You can always count on change.

“Yeah, I know, mom,” she’ll sigh. “You’ve only told me that like, a 1,000 times.”

There was nary a tree within our price range at Santa and Sons this year. I told Olivia I simply could not justify paying $79.99 for a 5' tree. She understood. On our way to Lowe's, we happened by a local neighborhood lot. In less than a minute, we found it-- the perfect noble fir. And that was that.

Still, it cost a bit more than I'd hoped. As I handed my debit card to the perky Santa’s helper, I felt a tiny wave of nausea. I knew I was cutting it close. Spending $60 on a tree was going to put a chink in my checking account for sure. I know, I know, not a very fiscally responsible decision, I know.

So, why did I spend money on a tree I couldn’t really afford? It’s very simple, really. I did it for her. I did it for that adorable little face staring at me with those hopeful, puppy dog eyes as I crunched numbers in my head and thought it over. I did it to preserve our tradition. I did it because I knew it would make her Christmas special. 

And for me, that’s all that matters.



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Love it. Sometimes, you just have to do those things.
Ok, lady vid, u ask “So, why did I spend money on a tree
I couldn’t really afford? It’s very simple, really. I did it for her”
That is understandable and exemplary and is rewarded in the kingdom of heaven.
Trust me. Money is the way the gods test us. Are we gonna be tightwads or spend it for the only reason they invented it? TO HAVE A FINE TIME. Then the good experience imbues in the participants ; joy is the driving force of life, not sacrifice. Sacrifice is for Calvinist idiots. Let e m spend for naught, for no smiles nor squeal of joy. Aint my way. They spend for morality’s visegrip on our exuberance. They hate exuberance. Tho Blake said “exuberance is beauty.”

Follow the chain of logic here, from me, yer philosopher pal: beauty is truth. How so? The truth of the world is to create beauty of being. Be-ing. From this springs all else. It is the very TELOS/ I gotta say. Ha.

“change is inevitable, whether she likes it, or not.
She’s finally learning, first hand, that change often occurs on a dime,
when you least expect it, and when you’re nowhere near ready for it “
absolutely, but no reason not to regroup and re-find Beauty. And truth.

“just feels like Christmas!"
Yes maam. It does.

The birth of some baby who grew up to die a criminal’s death 33 yrs later, after 3 yrs teaching nasty fuckers.

Christmas is NOT about that baby. It is not even his b-day. They changed it to coincide with other pagan festivals to usurp them.

He, born when? Who cares?

He was born, and murdered, and perservered for 2000 yrs.

Christmas, give em something insightful.
Did you get it flocked and fireproofed too?

I don't want to read some O. Henry ending here in a few weeks.
Sounds like it was money well-spent. You made your daughter, who's been through a lot from what I've read here, happy. Change is inevitable but that doesn't mean you have to like it or force it all at once. Nice job, mom.
Victoria, this is truly a heart-warming story. We all have the Santa and Sons in our lives... the places that hold tradition in our hearts worth far more than money. What a sweet decision - ENJOY THAT TREE!!! :))
(This is the second time I commented -- My first comment was eaten in front of my eyes!! )
Beautiful sentiment. Beautiful tree. Beautiful mother and daughter.
Oh, this is so lovely and beautiful. The things we do for our sweet kids! It wasn't until I was grown that I really noticed that my Mom had 4 dresses that she had worn all my life, one somewhat shabby coat, one pair of comfortable sensible shoes, and the smile of an angel when I would walk in the door, home from the college my parents worked their butts off to send me to. It was one of my great pleasures in life when I started working to take her shopping for clothes. You're a great Mom!