Tree Time 2021

Having gone on vacation at the start of the month, it meant decorating the Christmas tree was a couple days later than normal. Yesterday was the only chance we had to get on it. So right after an early dinner, we decorated.

As is tradition in our home, we put on “The Wiggles: Yule Be Wiggling” and “Wiggly Wiggly Christmas” whilst we decorate the trees. This year old oldest didn’t join us, but Grandma sat in to watch the fun.

As is also tradition, my wife and I enjoyed some Fireball and Eggnog: aka FIRENOG. We discovered this drink from my wife’s brother a few years ago and it has loosened us up for the holiday season ever since then. As is another tradition- and ornament gets accidentally broken and put on display. This year, no one broke an ornament, instead one came out of the box broken. It always seems to be the red ones…

Our new nine foot tree looks great in our new home. I’d say it’s almost done. As I mentioned, our oldest was unable to join us, so my wife and I put up a few of their ornaments, but saved the rest in case they wanted to add them to the tree at a later date. If not, that’ll be okay as well since this tree carries all of the special ornaments given to the family members. My wife and I knew that one day those ornaments would find a new home wherever our kids move to.

We also finished off our kids tree. This holds all those handmade ones gathered up over the years. From preschool onward, as well as the fandom made ones (Star Wars, etc..) This tree will be one my wife and I will always put up. And finally is a tree in our master bedroom. That one will be decorated in a few days since my mother is using the room during her stay.

Did you decorate a tree or trees this year? Any movies, music, food or drink that you enjoy while doing so? Let me know in the comments.

Update Needed

I have mentioned Google Home and automation tech a few times over the years. I’m extremely fond of how easy it is to use. Some of my favorite aspects are the schedules and routines. I have a few like “ok Google, Good Night.” And my bedside lamp goes on and Google says “Goodnight Josef.” Totally awesome.

This week, I added some plugs for the Christmas tree lights and created a routine that turns on every tree and plays Christmas orchestral music from Spotify. “Ok Google- Merry Christmas.” Pretty straightforward. Except that I wanted an icon for the trees that didn’t look like a plug or a lightbulb. But no such luck.

Instead I used the Kettle icon. It’s triangular and kind of works. But who uses a kettle or coffee maker on a smart plug? That makes no sense to me. Most of them have clocks and timers. It would be nice if Google updated their icons on the app to represent activities that make sense. Like turning on Christmas lights. Or the outdoor lights. A lightbulb or plug icon gets kind of lost in the app settings.

In the meantime, our nine foot tree is a kettle. That’s sort of festive… we like hot chocolate.

No Harm In Asking

This evening my wife and I went out to buy an artificial 9 foot Christmas tree for our home. Michael’s Craft Store had one on sale for half price. Instead of $500 it was $250. We hit the store, browsed a bit, then grabbed the tag that told us to take it to the cashier in order to get the tree. When we got to the cashier, she scanned the tag, but when she called to get the tree was told that they were out of stock.

Our cashier offered to check other stores for us. So she called the next nearest one, but they were also out. She also looked online for us, but again, no luck. Defeated, my wife and I left the store. We took it upon ourselves to try calling around at some stores that maybe I could get to and run a few other errands tomorrow. Again, no luck. Everywhere was out of stock. But one store made me think about a solution because they had mentioned what happened there.

Why not buy the floor model? So I called the store we had just left and asked. Within minutes, I was told “Yes”. They were even going to pack it back in the box for me. FANTASTIC! I was back to the store shortly thereafter. I going to get the tree my wife and I wanted! No more hunting around.

As I was driving back, my wife suggested I ask for a discount since it was the floor model. Hey, no harm in asking? It got us the tree already. When I got to the store, the cashier who was helping me earlier and her manager were packing up the tree for me already. I thanked them and “Dad Joked” that they could set it up for me at home after. They agreed to do it if we fed them. Banter went well, so I threw in the question, “Since it’s the floor model, how about adding a discount?”

“No problem. How about 10%? I’ll take it off at the till.”

Boom! Discount applied! But it gets better…

The 20 year old manager was unable to figure out in his head what 10% off $249 was. So he said, “How about I do $200 for the tree instead? Will that work?”

Um, yeah. Thank you. Ill gladly take 20% instead. Today’s lesson: no harm in asking. And math isn’t everyone’s strong suit.

Christmas Tree Shenanigans

Today I went to Walmart. Woohoo! Seriously though, not a fan of Walmart… But I decided to get an extra box of Halloween Candy for Sunday night. Just in case. As I walked around, I noticed they have their Christmas stuff out already. I’m not offended by this. On November 1st, I’d be ready to decorate our home for the season if my wife would allow it!

I’m bothered more by the false advertising that comes from the picture on a box vs the actual item.

Look at these beautiful pre-lit Christmas trees for $99! They look full and ready to be decorated. What a deal! Walmart even put one out on display to showcase the changing led lights.

Sure looks like the picture. *Shrugs* More like a scrawny Charlie Brown tree. No amount of fluffing or bending of the branches could make it look full like it is on the box. This genuinely aggravated me and I’m not sure why. If you want the tree and saw that this is what it looks like, by all means have at it. But disappointment is the first word that comes to mind when I see it.

As with all things Walmart, you get what you pay for. And I saved $99 not buying this.

R2-Tree2

As I mentioned previously in Shattered Memories, we have numerous trees. One of which has the ornaments the kids have made over the years. We never really had a topper for it. Putting a Santa hat or a top hat on it to try and finish it.

This year, I 3D printed a new topper. It was a fun one based on my favorite fandom- Star Wars. I decided to paint it in traditional Christmas colours- red and green with a hint of dark gold.

Our middle daughter had been waiting for over a week to put the tree topper up. Each one of our kids gets to put the topper on a tree. We rotate which tree every year. The kids’ tree was hers this year.

Now it is completed. And looking good thanks to the 3D files from Mr Baddeley’s Printed Droid.

Happy Life Day everyone!

Twelve Days Until Christmas

The home stretch is within sight everyone! Only a dozen days remaining until Christmas. Normally I’m out spending money frivolously about this time. Snatching up items that I think would help to fill out the gift piles of my wife and family. Most of those gifts just end up tossed in a drawer or the back of a closet before becoming landfill waste. Not this year however.

This year I am doing my part and staying home as much as possible. I feel as though I’ve already done my part in supporting local businesses and picked up some items a few weeks back. So staying home (when not at work) is also doing my part to keep myself and others healthy. No need to aimlessly wander the mall or stores trying to spend money that I don’t overly have to spend.

I don’t mind being at home during these final days of the year either. I get to enjoy some quality time with the family playing games and watching movies. Or just contemplating life as I stare at the decorations on our trees: Remembering when or where we picked up an ornament or two. And sometimes letting the lights catch my gaze until my vision becomes fuzzy and I feel warm inside.

It’s nice to just calm down and chill out. I forgot how wonderful it can be.

Family Decorating the Tree Time

Today was a late afternoon of decorating our third tree as a family. We had Rudolph playing in the background as we do every year. My wife has been doing a fantastic job over the years of keeping each of their ornaments separated. This made the decorating so much easier. Especially since this tree hosts our keepsake ornaments.

Trying to get a good picture during the decorating is always difficult. Someone is always on the move or deciding they don’t want their picture taken. Or the obvious- back is turned because they are putting an ornament on the tree. But I was able to snag a few candid shots before our obligatory “Family Photo” in front of the tree.

As our children continue to grow, even now as our eldest is an adult, I wonder how many more days I have like today with them. I also know that our family dog, Lex, is getting up there in dog years. Capturing these moments is heartwarming. Sharing them with the world is a necessary evil. I love seeing other people showing their family time, and I hope that my friends also enjoy seeing our smiles.

So take care this December. And take lots of photos of your loved ones- including pets- to remind yourself that 2020 isn’t all bad. At least that’s the advice I’m giving myself this year.

Yule Be Wiggling

When I was younger, one of my favorite things about Christmas was decorating the tree. The tree in my childhood home was shiny. Lots of glittery ornaments, multi coloured lights, and an excessive amount of tinsel! The green plastic tree was almost silver by the end.

However, around the age of twelve, my sister and father decided to decorate the Christmas tree without me. I’m not gonna lie, that kinda stung me in the heart. Even though I told my family that what they did sucked, they did it a couple more times during my teenage years as well.

Fast forward to the family I have created. My wife and I always make sure that the kids are around on the day we decorate the trees. We’ve even created a tradition for it that we repeat each and every year.

We do all the normal things that families do. Such as put on a fire in the fireplace and drink eggnog while we put out decorations on our Christmas trees. (Yes, TREES- plural.) We have two trees that we decorate as our “Fun” trees and one as our “Elegant” tree.

During the decorating of our Fun trees, we like to have fun- obviously. Our tree decorating has an odd tradition. We have to watch Yule Be Wiggling by The Wiggles! Back in the early 2000’s our children loved watching The Wiggles. As a way of keeping them youthful- we added a viewing of this film while the ornaments get hung up as a part of our Christmas traditions.

And our children continue to love it. All of the songs are memorized. I even have the songs on a cd that gets requested to be played in the car during December! As much as our oldest tries to fight it, this tradition still brought a smile to her face last night as we decorated the Fun trees.

Later this weekend, we will decorate our Elegant tree. This tree has all of our fragile glass and keepsake ornaments. We decorate this one as a family as well. But no bouncing around watching “The Wiggles” for this. It’s the classic Rudolph that will be playing on our tv.

Do you have any out of the ordinary Christmas or Holiday traditions? Let me know in the comments below!

Artificially Yours

Alive vs Artificial.  Trees.  I’m not going to use the terms “real” or “fake” because both are physically there, not imaginary.


Yes, this debate still goes on.  There are many facets that are involved in the debate.  Personally, we have artificial trees-yes plural.  (My wife loves decorated trees.)  Our reason is the simple fact that our allergies and asthma don’t flare up.  The smell of a living tree would ruin my Christmas because I’d need a Kleenex box strapped to my face the entire season.  Where as I’m only bothered by the dust for about a day when we first unbox our trees.  

The most common question asked: Is owning a plastic tree better for the environment than cutting down a living tree?  


We live nearby to about a dozen “Christmas Tree” farms.  All of them are hopping this time of year.  To me, I’m surprised that so many trees are sold without the root ball.  I know that some people attempt to re-plant their tree.  But most just turf them out with the recycling and yard waste.  I’m not an environmentalist, but that’s a lot of perfectly healthy trees getting cut down for a couple weeks enjoyment.


Artificial trees aren’t exactly eco-friendly either.  They are made from all sorts of plastics, metals and chemicals.  They are pretty much “perfect” when you first get one.  But over the years, they start to look ragged and decrepit.  Only to be tossed out with the garbage one Christmas and get replaced with another one.  

Pretty sure the landfill isn’t the best place for your memorable Christmas tree.  But what choice do you have if you want to keep tradition alive in your home?  Having no tree isn’t really an option.  As we finish decorating our third tree, I don’t have an answer for this.

Instead, I’ll just play ignorant and continue to do what I always do.  Set up the tree, throw on some lights and baubles, and enjoy the Christmas Spirit.

Here are the local places near me if you are still needing a live tree:

Giesbrechts Tree Farm
Churchland Tree Farm
Frosty’s (sold out for the year)
Even Krause Berry Farms has a full on Christmas section now.