The Great Christmas Tree Expedition!

Around ManilaForeign Service Life
November 18, 2009

We had set the intention to put up the Christmas decorations this past weekend.  Like most things in Manila, it didn’t end up going at all according to plan.  The first problem we had was that none of Nick’s Xmas decor made it here and one of my boxes was missing (although I still had 6 more full of goodies, so I managed).  I started to get really frustrated though when we pulled out the tree and one of the legs to the tree stand was missing.  Nick could tell I was close to having a break-down (Xmas Decorating Day is one of my favorite of the entire year) and suggested that we buy a new tree together to commemorate our first Christmas.

I loved that idea, so off we went to go find our tree.  I was quite optimistic and thought that Landmark would have the best selection (even though I HATE shopping there).  And lo and behold, we found what we deemed to be the perfect tree.  Imagine my disappointment when the stock boy returns to utter my least favorite words: “Out of Stock, mum”.  Upon inquiring if there’d be more coming in, I got my second most dreaded phrase, “Maybe soon”.  Translation: Maybe NEVER.  More sadness for Sarah.

Then we went to store 2, which only had white or yellow or blue trees.  Apparently no one had told them that GREEN is the “in” color for trees.  That’s what I get for trying to find one in the tropics!  Store 3 was a bust too and now I really was close to tears.  Nick suggested we end for the day and try again tomorrow.

Day 2 yielded more disappointment at stores 4 and 5.  A $200 ugly tree was not on my wishlist.  In the end, we came full circle and returned to Landmark where we compromised and picked an acceptable tree.  Nick saved the day though by suggesting we jazz it up with lots of sparkly tree add-ons.  All of a sudden, my energy was back.  We had a blast picking out the stuff together and decorating the tree.  It didn’t even bother me that it took an hour for 4 people to hand-write out the SKU names of all 50 tree decorations we had purchased so they could reconcile their inventory and complete our purchase!

Here’s what we ended up with:

We donated our old tree to Norma and she happily accepted her very first Christmas Tree EVER (missing leg and all).  I couldn’t believe that she’d never had a tree!  That is so wrong… She was nearly in tears, she was so excited.  Well, who knew that my 10-year-old tree could bring that much joy?  So then I went digging for more holiday stuff to give her.  I found extra berries and ribbons and beads to adorn her tree.  She insisted that she’d never be able to create a tree like mine, so we did a demo and helped her practice.  Good heart-warming Christmas moment, if I do say so myself!

Nick’s creative brain was definitely on, as he came up with the brilliant idea of creating a MN-esque Christmas Tree topper.  We happened to find these fabulous sparkly Christmas maple tree leaves and created a one-of-kind topper.  I must say, I was so proud of my husband’s decorating skills – he did the entire top himself!  He made a very fine replacement for my mom, who’s been my decorating partner for the last 10 years.

Well, I think that’s enough about the Christmas decorations.  There are an ABSURD number of shots of the tree at SMUGMUG if you’re craving more.  Check them out!  Maybe, just maybe, Christmas in Manila is going to turn out okay after all…

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  1. C says:

    So beautiful! I always loved Christmas at Sarah’s…

  2. Patti says:

    Looks wonderful! My mom always put our X-Mas tree up the day AFTER Thanksgiving and I thought she started decorating early, but you, my friend are oh so organised! I guess that means you just have longer to celebrate!

  3. Caroline says:

    That’s gorgeous! I think we’re going to buy a reusable tree this year after Christmas (because it isn’t in the budget before — and that’s when all the deals are), and I cannot even imagine having one as gorgeous as yours! Happy early holidays!

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