Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tree Is A Company

I have a love hate relationship with Christmas. It's the season that gets me down and it is also the season that invokes unwelcome feelings in me. The only thing I love about Christmas are the Christmas trees. I am even less enthusiastic about receiving Christmas presents as compared to setting up a tree. Don't ask me why, but I have a feeling it stems from some repressed childhood thing when we used to set up an artificial tree back in hometown every Christmas season though nobody in my family are Christians. I never really asked my mother why we did it despite us being a family of freethinkers and pagan idol worshipers. I theorized it was really just for the sake of us kids. The "tradition" stopped after we started having dogs. According to my mother, she didn't want to have dog fur getting caught up in the tree though I suspected it was more because she didn't want the hassle of extracting the tree from our hazardously overloaded storeroom.

After a few years of living in the city alone and watching over the top and extravagant trees being set up in malls during Christmas season (I blame Metrojaya for the bulk of my obsession), I finally caved in last year and hastily bought a 5 feet tree from Tesco which I haphazardly cobbled together with budget trimmings in a vain attempt to make it look expensive. The end result was disastrous. Not so much because it ended up looking cheap and pathetic, but because it fueled by obsession that I needed to do better next year. My mother did not over-reacted as I thought she would when she popped by for a visit:

"A Christmas tree? You should have just asked for the old one at home if you wanted one instead of buying a new one."

I kept telling friends after that I am going to go bigger the next year, and get a 6 feet one. They just rolled their eyes and thought I was crazy. So my obsession began anew last month, the same moment Metrojaya began setting up their Christmas deco, so yes, they are to be blamed for my insanity. I attempted to refrain from giving in to my obsession to go bigger so I just hauled out the old 5 feet one and set it up, this time with new lights and ribbon garlands. The final result was no different from last year, it ended up looking sad and small in the corner of my living room and I couldn't bring myself to look upon it without feeling ashamed. With vengeance, I renewed my search for a bigger tree despite it being the middle of November, visiting different malls every few days and yes, bloody Metrojaya, in hopes of finding the tree of my dreams. No such luck from the latter considering their most decent trees were priced from RM400 onwards but God did it made my obsession burn. Just with luck, Carrefour was starting to sell trees, and the 6 feet one (made in Vietnam) was going for just RM50, and the branches look really thick with needles too. I could have made a Dr. Evil expression at the thought of getting a tree that large for such a steal.

So off I trotted home, delighted with my bargain to set up my tree. Coincidentally, Laynie was suppose to come over for a DVD night and found herself reluctantly drafted into my insane quest.

"Why the hell do you have two trees?"

I wasn't about to let my enthusiasm be dampened. But what's this as I began to unpack the thing:

"No hinged branches?"

It didn't look good. No hinged branches means higher susceptibility to wear and tear with each use. It was then I began to realize that nothing comes cheap without consequences. The quality was really poor. So poor that a little branch broke off as I was unfurling it. In my estimates, the tree probably wouldn't last 3 years without looking denuded. But still, I tried being optimistic. So after almost 3 hours, the end result was somewhat better than the previous tree. Not satisfied with the result, I started visiting malls again to compare. Yes, BACK TO METROJAYA... AGAIN. I wasn't going to be outdone, so after getting more trimmings from several places, I decided finally that my tree now looks more presentable...

Or does it?

Something was not right. After more visits to malls and more comparisons made later, I found my tree despite being 6 feet did not have foliage that covered the stand. But no, I wasn't going to feed my insane obsession of Christmas trees anymore. But itchy me, I could not resist a peek at the affluent neighbourbood malls of Bangsar during a lunch outing with whiterabbit.

"My tree needs berries," I proclaimed.


"To top the tree!"

So yet another friend fell victim to my obsession and was for an hour dragged around Bangsar Village to look at Christmas decorations. The search turned up fruitless (excuse the pun), so off I went again, TO METROJAYA (curses!) and finally found what I was looking for. Berry branches, at RM10.90 a piece, and I got four. Finally I decided, this was going to be it. No more! Or so I vainly thought...

The nagging feeling that I had gotten myself a bad purchase with the RM50 tree continued to chew at my conscience. So this time I sneaked a peek at Bangsar Shopping Centre during closing hours after my session in the gym, and I caught sight of a nice tree going for RM249.

"Gulp. Must... resist..."

But I wasn't going to give in so easily, I had to go back this time and compare carefully. I can always decide again tomrrow because I would be around the area. So after coming home and staring at my already set up tree like for what seem like an eternity, I decided Carrefour tree had to go. So again I was in BSC the next day. However after closer inspection, I found I did not like that tree so much, so partially relieved, I did not make the purchase. It didn't end there - I somehow found myself in Pavilion, in the heart of KL. I was doomed the moment I stepped in Parkson. There among the trees available, was a 7 feet tree of excellent quality, with REAL pine cones, selling at RM599 for a discounted price of RM419.30.


It didn't help that I was also feeling somewhat depressed over the week over issues. The more sad I was, the more likely I will be to do stupid things to keep me preoccupied. I spent the next few hours running around in the Golden Triangle area looking at even MORE decorations in an attempt to discourage myself. I even saw a luxurious tree with detailed pine needles, going for RM1000+. I was going insane. RM419.30 is better than that price right? RIGHT??? My fate was sealed. In the end I was RM419.30 poorer, having two twinks lug my "Austrian Pine" to my car 4 floors down at the other end of the mall. A spectacle that HRH Nut would have been proud of. I spent a total 7 hours taking down my Carrefour tree and setting up the new one over the course of the next 24 hours. I'd even had to get another 2 strings of lights to light the whole tree. Three days later, after regular lunch with Pinky, I ended up with a Christmas angel doll with ceramic hands and head which Pinky insisted she paid for. Guess what, it didn't fit the tree. BLAST!!!! It now sits at the kitchen counter, looking like something from a horror movie and very out of place.

"You are to smack me if you ever see me wandering into anymore Christmas deco sales in malls," I said to HRH Nut.


"I probably spent close to RM800 this year on the Christmas tree."

"Good lord..."

"But then again I heard they have quite nice decos in Great Eastern Mall!"


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