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The War of The Perfect Tree This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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For many, Christmas brings fun, excitement, and smiles. Presents are exchanged, ham is cooked, and celebrations happen. When you have a mom like mine, however, it’s much different. Every year my mom brings out our fake tree, and the war begins. The War of the Perfect Tree. Ornaments will be broken, bulbs will blow, and angels will fall.

First, the seven foot tree has to be assembled. There are three sections: the bottom, the base, and the top. Although this sounds easy enough, each piece is at least fifteen pounds and the instructions are written in Chinese, Spanish and every other language besides English. This causes a full out brawl between me, my mom, and the prickly branches of the tree. Even though we finally win this battle, there are many more skirmishes to overcome before the war is won.

After the pieces of the tree are finally put together, the mini lights have to be wrapped around the evergreen. Though this may sound simple, it’s a hassle comparable to getting your teeth pulled or eating broccoli and cauliflower. Every bulb and strand has to be checked, otherwise the tree won’t meet mom’s maximum light capacity. It’s a back breaking, hand shaking process that is meticulous and tedious, so by the time we’re finished, my eyes are glazed over and my fingers are sore.

Next, the fierce encounter with the garland begins. There is at least twenty feet of blue, silver and green garland that has to be draped better than the robe of a Greek goddess. The colors have to be layered in a faultless pattern around the tree to the very tip. If the strands are too close together or too far apart, they are taken down and the process begins again from scratch.

After the garland is put on, there is still another battle to fight: the ornaments. My mom is an ornament hoarder. Everywhere we go, she gets an ornament. Whether it’s from Sea World, Hershey Park, or Yankee Stadium, we have them all. Over the years, Mom has accumulated at least three hundred ornaments, and now that I’m taller than she, it’s my job to put them on the tree. If she doesn’t like the placement, I have to move them around until the plastic globes are in the perfect place. Even in the back behind the tree, the ornaments have to be hung just right.

Eventually, all of the memory spheres are hung and the next task begins: putting up the angel. We’ve had this angel for twelve years, and we have yet to develop a successful strategy for placing her on the tree. We always start by getting the step-stool and situating her at the top; however, she has a tendency to either fall or make the tree lean like the Tower of Pisa. After an hour of, “a little to the left” and “a tad backwards,” we’ve finally gotten our stubborn angel to raise the white flag and stay. We let out a sigh of relief realizing the war is over.

Although this war is tiresome, it’s worth it at the end. When it’s all said and done, our tree is better than what you’d see in the White House. Who says there’s no such thing as perfect.

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