I have used a charcoal grill for my entire adult life, at least during those years when I had some place to store a grill when not in use. I long ago convinced myself that my grilled entree’s taste better when cooked over charcoal than when cooked over a blue, propane flame. In fact, I have convinced myself that it is so much better that it’s worth screwing around with all that ash removal and the setting of lit matches to the jet fuel that is required to get it started. My son went to the dark side several years ago, buying a huge, stainless steel gas grill. His barbecue tastes pretty good. I may not be holding out much longer, but I have not yet turned that corner.
I have, however, turned other corners, not the least of which was the decision to forego the traditional hassle and expense of selecting and purchasing an actual North Carolina Scotch pine for Christmas and simply acquire a reusable, fake tree from Home Depot. This, of course, is contrary to one of my core beliefs in life that real is real and everything else is, well, not real. I have always been a purist at heart.
Despite that sentiment, I went ahead and paid forty dollars for this puny little tree. It’s only about five feet tall and came pre-wired with tiny, sparkly lights. But the good news is that all I have to do in order to get it set up for our annual Christmas festivities is to get the branches bent into some kind of natural-looking position and plug it in. And, since it goes into the attic in January instead of out to the curb, every year I use it I reduce my cost-per-year (that’s my Scottish genes at work).
Coincidentally, back in 2008, I made what seemed a practical decision to purchase my current residence even though its many features do not include a fireplace. That was a tough call in that I love fireplaces and over the years have enjoyed one in my home whenever I could. But, in this case, I didn’t want to pass up a really good deal on the house for lack of a fireplace that I would rarely use anyway (I do reside in Florida, after all). So, that was a corner-turn for me as well.
As an alternative, I went on Amazon and bought a fireplace DVD. I have since, converted it to a streaming fireplace video that pops, snaps, crackles, and loops on my UHD TV screen, which is positioned just to the right of my little fake Christmas tree. And I have a really big TV, so it projects a really big fire. In fact, if the TV volume is a little too high, it sounds kind of like a house burning down. To put everyone’s mind at ease, I try not to get the little tree too close to the TV.
In the end, I find that together with this little fake tree, and all our gifts arrayed under it, well, around it, and my huge, rip-roaring, fake fireplace, it’s downright “Christmassy” in here. In a Walmart store sort of way.
And a merry Christmas to all.