Oh Christmas Bush, Oh Christmas Bush, How Costly Are Your Branches?

December was crazy busy, so I didn't get a single blog post published, but I wanted to share what we've been up to! I'll try to use these next couple posts to get caught up. A Real Tree

We decided to try getting a live Christmas tree this year. Chance and I both grew up with real trees, but had only had artificial since getting married. We'd heard that toddlers are more likely to leave a real (pokey) tree alone, and thought that sounded beneficial for a home with two toddlers!

This decision ended up costing us a fortune!

Let me explain...

We bought our tree from a local family that had a few for sale. Our first problem was when I picked out the tree. As I mentioned, I'd never done this before as an adult, and I did not actually realize how FAT the tree I chose was. When we got it home, the trunk was much too wide for our tree stand.


Our new tree spent quite a few hours in the garage before we were able to find a neighbor who had a stand that was wide enough. That neighbor was kind enough to help Chance move the tree to our living room.


The tree was SO wide. My friends joked that it was actually a Christmas bush, rather than a tree.

And then, the problems began...

I started having some itchy spots appear behind my ears. I actually got hives back there when I was in college (it was finals week), so I assumed the spots were stress-related.


(Day 1)

Then the spots progressively got worse. In fact, a few appeared on my face.

At this same time, my neighbor's wife mentioned dealing with some sort of allergic reaction. Her face was very swollen.

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(Day 2)

About this time, my friend went to the doctor and was told that she was having a reaction to some poison ivy. I'm a bit more stubborn and held out on visiting the doctor.

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(Day 3)

I eventually did see the doctor. I declined any medications, but he suggested that maybe I had poison oak from my Christmas tree. He thought the tree had probably been drug through some, and I had a reaction to the oils after putting the lights on the tree.

When I shared this information with my neighbor, she realized that she probably broke out after washing her husband's clothes when he helped us move the tree. Her swelling was still very bad, so she did get some meds from her doctor.

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(Day 4)

Mystery solved!


(Day 5)

At this point, the itching was out of control, and I called the doctor for the medicine prescription. The meds gave me night sweats, rapid heartbeat, and super weird dreams. I stopped taking the meds.


(Day 6)


(Day 7)


(Day 8)

Here I called the doctor again. The redness was slightly less, but the swelling began to increase. Obviously.

I bought a second kind of medication.

Also, I had the tree removed from our home. It had been sitting in our house with only the lights on it because I wasn't sure what to do with it. I knew I wasn't touching it again!

We hired a family friend to come haul it away.

I, of course, took photos of such a monumental event!

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I didn't even want to touch the tree to remove the lights.


(It's like the tree was holding onto the door handle for dear life. It knew its fate was the burn pile!)


Good riddance, tree!

The man who hauled it away actually showed me a vine growing around the tree trunk. He said the vine was poison oak. We had not only been watering the tree, but we'd also been keeping the poison oak alive!


(Day 9)


(Day 10)


(Day 11)

We eventually replaced this tree with an artificial tree from the Menard County Resale page.

For my friend and I, this one tree/bush cost us three doctor's appointments, three medications, two tree stands, six strands of lights, and one artificial tree.

Christmas Decorations and Lights from 2014

New Year's Resolutions