For this coming Christmas, we decided to make a brave decision about having a tree, despite our cat. So we have bought an actual Christmas tree, and have placed it in our actual house, where our actual cat Scooter could (theoretically) actually destroy it.
But first, some background.
This is what I wrote in “O Christmas bush, O Christmas bush,” which I posted on July 27 of this year:
As I’ve explained in Radio Free Daglan before, my wife Jan and I are like many other cat owners who find it easier and wiser not to have an actual Christmas tree in the living room. From experience, we’ve learned that cats would prefer to knock the tree over and eat the tinsel, rather than simply sit by the fire with a cup of egg nog and admire the tree’s beauty.
So last year, we had a brainwave and decided to buy a potted holly bush, and decorate it for Christmas. With its prickly leaves, it was sure to keep our cat Scooter at bay — and it did.
Here it is, decorated with a few bulbs and a few ornaments. Okay, it’s not right up there with the Christmas tree in front of the White House, but it did the job.
This year, however, we thought that our cat Scooter had become a bit mellower, and just might avoid the tree — especially if it (a) had a good array of prickly pine needles and (b) didn’t have too many dangling ornaments and (c) had absolutely no tinsel.
So yesterday at the Carrefour supermarket in Gourdon, we bought a small potted Christmas tree, and have installed it in the window well where we kept last year’s holly bush. And here it is:
Obviously, it’s not decorated yet. We didn’t want to bother with the decorations until we were certain that Scooter would leave it alone. Amazingly, he’s virtually ignored it. Hasn’t gone anywhere near it, in fact — at least while we’re awake.
If he had decided to attack the tree, we would simply have moved it outside to the front entrance of our house, and decorated it there. (That was what we did for years at our Toronto home, in order to avoid tempting our two cats, Scooter and the late, lamented Amélie.)
So this coming week, we’ll decorate our Christmas tree in the window well with tiny lights and a goodly number of decorations, and I’ll show you how it turns out.
In the meantime, I have a sad update on last Christmas’s holly bush. Here’s what I wrote about it this past July:
After Christmas, I thought I would transplant the bush from its pot into a flower bed at the front of the house, where it could look up and admire one of our wisteria. After a few anxious weeks when the holly looked dormant to the point of being dead, it started to sprout new growth. Hurrah!
Then came our hot summer, and [unfortunately] I ignored the holly bush (and pretty much everything else). Finally it struck us that none of the leaves on the bush was green; they were all brown, and dropping fast.
We could have given up, of course. But I thought it was worth trying to save the bush, and so I started watering it thoroughly, and regularly. And it’s working! Here’s the wee bush, gamely pushing out new leaves, even as some of the dead leaves hang on to the branches:
Unfortunately, that was as good as it got. Despite my new attention to watering the poor thing, for some reason our Christmas holly bush just died.