Friday, November 30, 2012

The Kindergarten Christmas Tree

I really mean it that I'm going to put up our Christmas tree this weekend.  I really, really do.  We have a 9 or 10-footer (our ceilings are 12 feet), with fiber-optic, color-changing lights already installed on it, and then we put regular LED lights on it in addition, because as cool as the fiber-optics look at night, in nearly pitch-black, if there's any other ambient light around, the LEDs look a little washed-out.  In years past, I've always decorated the tree with blue, gold, and silver glass balls, mainly, and then filled in with my ornaments from when I was growing up.  A big tree like ours can stand up to a TON of ornaments.  But with Zoe now a for-real Toddler with a capital T, into everything and faster than Flash Gordon, I can't be putting glass balls on the tree this year. 

I'm looking at the prospect of a Very Nekkid Christmas Tree.

So I got thinking that it'd be kind of cool to have one of those silver tinsel trees.  I used to think these flashy trees were the apex of cheesiness, but have come to think they're pretty fabulous (Zoe's not the only one who'd be tickled pink with a disco ball for the family room!)  I wouldn't want a short little tinsel tree.  I'd want one the size of my regular Christmas tree- a 10-footer!  Maybe even with one of those lights that shines up on it and changes the color at a soothing speed.  And because the tree would be so flashy, it would hardly need any ornaments!  I could probably get away with just using my non-glass childhood ornaments!

Thing of it is, at least right now before Christmas, a ten-foot tinsel Christmas tree will set you back a cool grand, plus tax and shipping.  And besides that, even if I could find one for $5, I'm pretty sure Shane would HATE IT. 

But all this thinking about Christmas trees got me thinking about our kindergarten Christmas tree.  I bring this up, because I really was thinking about replicating the tree my kindergarten class made in 1983 this year. 

I think the reason it remains so prominent in my mind is that it started out as this giant cone of chicken wire.  Now, as I was maybe three feet tall in Grade K, "giant cone of chicken wire" needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  In reality, it could have been anywhere from six feet to fifteen feet tall.  It seems to me, to this day, that the giant cone of chicken wire extended from the rubber tile floor to the suspended ceiling in our kindergarten room.

I can't remember if the horde of two dozen kindergarteners in my class completed the entire project in one day, or if we stretched it out for a week or so, but we all were put to work fan-folding sheets of green construction paper.  Then, after we had our sheet of fan-folded green construction paper, we'd take it to our teacher, she'd staple it smack in the middle, to make a bow-shaped piece, and then open it up and staple each corner of the bow together, to make a fan-folded circle.  Then we repeated, until as a class, we made enough fan-folded circles to cover our giant cone of chicken wire, and then we switched production to red construction paper fan-folded bows.  Then in an act of magic, we went home, and the next morning when we came back to school, our giant chicken-wire and construction paper cone-tree was finished.  And glorious and unbreakable!

If I were going to adapt this tree for my use here at home, I'd definitely make the chicken wire cone giant enough to reach from floor to ceiling in the living room.  Instead of red and green construction paper, though, I think I'd use silver foil wrapping paper, with red foil wrapping paper accents and no small amount of flashy light strings.

Of course, that's a lot of fan-folding.  And I'd have to do it all myself.  Maybe I WILL use this idea one of these years, but I think I'll wait a year or two, until Zoe has the dexterity to fan-fold.  It'll be about time she earns her keep around here, after all!

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