Sunday, December 18, 2011

Me, I Want A Hula Hoop


What would Christmas be without Alvin & the Chipmunks?  Before leaving California earlier this year, when I thinned out the ranks of our CD collection (yes, I know it's an ancient technology), I apparently included in the "donation pile" my "Christmas with the Chipmunks" CD.  I was probably considering Jerry when I decided to get rid of it.  Their "Christmas Song" drives him up a wall.  A few years back, I willingly got rid of Elmo & Patsy singing "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer."  Even I tired of that one.  But, the Alvin & the Chipmunks Christmas Song is one of my favorites.  Fortunately, there's YouTube.  I've already listened to the song at least half a dozen times today.  I just didn't get to listen to it yesterday when we did our decorating.


After living in New England for years (until moving to San Diego in 1993), Jerry and I were really spoiled by being able to buy or cut down our own Christmas tree every year. The trees were so fresh that they rarely even dropped a needle after three weeks in the house.


When we moved to San Diego, we bought our first "fresh" tree in a tree lot and lost half the needles before we even got it to the car. So, the next year, we gave in and bought an artificial tree. It was a major adjustment, but once you've covered a tree with 750 little white lights and more than 350 ornaments (which is what we used to do... the lights were so bright they'd blind you if you tried to look directly at the tree) , you really can't tell what's underneath anyway (except for the fragrance... or lack thereof).


When we had the hotel in Palm Springs, we bought a wonderful large, fake tree, pre-strung with lights. Talk about easy. The "branches" folded down into place with the lights perfectly positioned. All we had to do was plug it in. But, in moving to Spain, with its different electrical requirements, we couldn't bring our pre-strung tree with us. It also didn't seem to be a very practical thing to haul across the ocean.


A couple of weeks ago, Jerry had the inspired idea to buy three smaller trees instead of one large one and then to place them in front of each of the three balcony doors in the living room. We bought three excellent quality 5-foot trees. OK, they're still fake and I really miss that rich evergreen smell, but I have adjusted. We then bought strings of 280 lights for each and plant stands to raise them up a bit. We unpacked and decorated while playing our Christmas CDs (Willie Nelson, Celia Cruz, the Los Angeles Gay Men's Chorus, the South Dakota Acoustic Christmas). Next up is "Peter, Paul, & Mary" and their holiday celebration (they've got Chanukah songs, too). So our first Christmas in Sevilla should be OK. Even if Alvin and the Chipmunks aren't here.


  1. I'm going to say you're getting a hula-hoop in the mail next year! ;)

  2. Hello Mitch:
    You are clearly well into the festive spirit. No-one could possible accuse you of saying 'Humbug' to Christmas with three trees for starters!

  3. Peter:
    I couldn't keep it going for more than three spins when I was 10. I'd probably break a hip now!

  4. J&L:
    It's hard to not be in the festive spirit here. We were having coffee outside early this afternoon and saw yet another parade.

  5. Thet look beautiful. Can passersby see them from the street?

  6. Archguy:
    We went down to the plaza and checked as soon as we finished decorating. The top 1/2 of each tree and the lights can be seen from the plaza (in the case of 2) and the other from the street. Maybe next year we'll put wreaths on the balconies. (Love the word "thet." Sounds Dutch -- to someone who doesn't speak Dutch.)

  7. 3 that`s the spirit...we have a few evergreens on our property but stopped decorating an indoor`s tree a couple years just a little difficile pour us so we nixed the practice and keep on moving on!Lovely work you have done...enjoy yourselves!!!!

  8. sophie...^5(ron):
    We got lazy for a while -- didn't put up a tree at all some years, other years unpacked only some of the decorations. But this move to Spain gave us the shot of adrenaline we needed. And getting rid of 100s of ornaments and decorations made it a lot easier to contemplate!

  9. I love reading your posts Mitch! I followed and read a few referral posts to fill in some 'spaces!
    You two are very courageous and resilient!
    The hoola hoop is a great idea!

  10. Jim:
    That really means so much to me. Thank you. And thanks for checking back on those hyperlinks.

    Sometimes courageous. Extremely resilient. Mostly nuts!

  11. The Chipmunks express a much sweeter sentiment than Grandma's Reindeer - and that's what makes them so endearing. Happy Holidays!

  12. FDeF:
    You are so right. I thought the "Grandma Got Run Over..." song was funny when I heard the first two lines. When I heard the rest of it, I simply thought it was offensive and redneck. The Chipmunks always make me smile. Buon Natale!

  13. Ok. Truth? I wasn't even noticing your Christmas trees because I was busy coveting your gorgeous wood floors. We have wood floors too...but our house is nearly a hundred years old and they are the original oak ones and they look it.

    We put up the same tree every year: the silver one that I rescued from the Goodwill box after my mother died. It was the one I grew up with, complete with the revolving color light. It still works!

  14. Love your ornaments and your decorating. Not a fan of Alvin & the squirrels. ;~)

  15. I'm just now catching up! I've enjoyed reading your adventures in NY (the tins would drive me crazy, too) and seeing the photos of Brooklyn.

    Welcome home to Spain!

  16. Maria:
    We loved this place when we walked in the door, but didn't appreciate how lucky we were to find it. Redone four years ago with the addition of all new balcony doors/windows one year ago. But original oak floors? That's rare. Someday, you'll have the wherewithal to empty everything out and redo them I'm sure!

    When I was a kid, we had a neighbor who had one of those silver trees with the revolving color light (and come to think of it, she had a daughter named Maria)! You aren't from North Massapequa, are you?

  17. Nubian:
    Squirrels?!? Squirrels?!? Such disrespect! (Jerry read my blog last night and listened to the Chipmunks song for all of of 30 seconds. He tried for my sake but he just couldn't go any further.

  18. Walt the Fourth:
    So glad you're back in power! And thanks for the welcome back. It is really good to be HOME!

  19. Ok, I tried, too. I made it to 47 seconds. ;)

  20. Walt the Fourth:
    Well, thank you for at least trying. You can't be blamed for your less refined taste in music; some people just don't have the ear. (I just listened to it for the third time today.)

  21. First foto, I thought, is that a mirror or do they have 2 trees? Wrong!
    Excellent idea, I almost shipped a pre-strung tree with transformer, but couldn't time it right.
    We put up what I call a little french anorexic tree, and used 1/5 of the smaller ornaments I had from years past.....
    Artificial is needleless, safe from fire, and shapely! You can always buy real garland for mantles, etc. for the smell.
    Ho ho, good job

  22. Theaterdog:
    There are definitely benefits to having an artificial tree (for example, you can bend the branches into any position you need for a particular ornament). And you're right about getting some real garland for the smell. Problem is: I haven't seen any yet! So, now I'm on the lookout for a quality pine-scented candle.


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