Monday, December 15, 2008

A Beary Merry Christmas



Alternatively, I suppose I could have entitled this "A Psychotic Christmas", since there's no rational way to explain this.



On Saturday, I put up our Christmas decorations. MY WIFE works on Saturday, and I usually spend the day watching college football (or baseball, depending upon the season.) Well, there is always at least one weekend during December when there is no major college football on the tube. I usually take that confluence of events (WIFE working, no football) to put up the Christmas trees.

Yes, plural. Trees.

MY WIFE has worked at Talbots, a somewhat high-end clothing store, for years now. One Christmas season, they had a window decoration that included multiple artificial Christmas trees. After the season was over, they were going to chuck the trees. MY WIFE asked if she could have them instead. Having no reason to say no, they said yes. And we ended up with 5 Christmas trees of various sizes. The smallest comes up to my knee. The largest is about six feet.

The original plan was to perhaps use ONE of the trees. We'd choose the size depending upon our financial situation and living arrangements, etc., but ever since we acquired them, we've put all 5 of them in the living room just about every year. And I've decorated them all.

From the example of the trees, you can see that we like to go way overboard with some things. Another example is, of course, the bears.

We started out with four bears I had from my childhood. They had been in a closet for years and were very happy to get out. The little bear in the front wearing the green and red sweater (Ditka) was acquired at an office supplies trade show while I was still in that business. We added a couple of cows when we received them as a gift from a friend. They are the blatant front-runners holding the Celtics banner. Being cows, they had been Chicago Bulls fans before the recent success of Paul Pierce and company. Another bear came from a younger relative who thought he had outgrown such things (which is obviously untrue if you use us as a guide to maturity.) He's the one wearing the glasses. His name is Flaubert, and he was the ring bear at our wedding. From there it just blossomed into full-blown plushophilia.

I haven't done a count recently, but my best estimate is that we have some 60+ teddies; that is, if one is allowed to count cows and sheep and cats amongst the total. If strictly limiting this to bears, it still comes to about 50. As you can see, I could only squeeze some 30 into the photo.

Someday (which you should dread) I will tell you the stories behind each and every one of them.

And, if any of you have any bright ideas about getting us another teddy for Christmas, don't you dare! They're almost crowding us out of the house as it is now. If you have already bought one for us, however, we'll take it. We have never turned away a homeless teddy (which is, of course, the problem.)

And that's it for today. What with the decorating, and a lovely Christmas party at my cousin's place on Sunday, there wasn't a whole lot of time for writing. That's why you got a picture of stuffed bears today.

Soon, with more better stuff.

(ERRATUM: MY WIFE says that she may or may not work at Talbots. She did not, however, obtain the aforementioned trees from them. They came from the gift shop of an undisclosed art museum where she did work at the time, and she paid a nominal fee for them.)

(In other words, I didn't do my fact checking. This is the reason I got a B- in my journalism classes in high school.)


27 comments:

Angie Ledbetter said...

Love the bears in their own little Christmas tree woods...which does bring an old joke to mind. :) The more the merrier!

jill said...

I love that you had a ring bear at your wedding....he probably behaved MUCH better than most ring bearers.

Bear Naked said...

I knew there was a very good reason why I like you and your blog.


Bear((( )))
ps: only 50 bears---AMATEUR

Moannie said...

Love, love love it; all the trees and all the animals. Bet it is the uniquest [is there such a word, if not there should be, just for you] decoration in Christendom.

Happy Christmas to you and your lovely wife.

David Sullivan said...

Plushophilia? EeeeeK!

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Love your bears! I kept about a dozen until I was almost 70 years old, but have since passed them on to loving homes. One remains with me for the enjoyment of my visiting 4 year old granddaughter (and my enjoyment, too, I must add.)

Buck said...

Do you have a Paddington Bear, Jim? The Second Mrs. Pennington became quite enamored with 'em when we lived in England... I'd never heard of 'em before.

I agree with Moannie... MOST unique decorations! Well done!

Suldog said...

Buck - Yes, Paddington is in the picture, wearing his yellow rain slicker. He normally spends his time looking out the window - he really likes a good storm - but he was convinced to join the crowd for a photo.

Michelle H. said...

I never pegged you as being a bear collector. There are worse habits in the world than this. Have yourself a very "beary" Merry Christmas! (I wanted to say this now in case I don't get a chance later.)

Got 2 Trot Librarian said...

I'm partial to the bear wearing the glasses.

Daisy said...

I really love the bears!! So unusual, I've never seen people put bears under the tree before. Although this year I have to admit I don't have an angel for the tree so I have used a little panda I got in China. It is wearing a red chinese hat and silk pajamas though so he's festive.

Karen said...

And I can "bearly" get *one* tree up and decorated!

Sandi McBride said...

How good of you to put up the trees...and I love your bears. I have quite a collection myself and they sit on the sofa and dare the cats to pummel them...the cats usually fullfill their wishes at least three times a day! Do you have a Pooh Bear? You really must...and a Paddington...great post...gives me hope that Mac may one day, well you know...decorate a Christmas tree or three!
Sandi

Chris Stone said...

sorry suldog. i'm about to go all commercial on you. you ready? prepared? holding your nose tightly while squinting your rolling eyes? toes curled and hair... well. you don't have any hair.

check out
http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=32631
*she does custom work.*

whew. i just felt compelled, ya know?

Mushy said...

Sounds like a neat tradition...can't wait for the stories.

Ericka said...

wow. i can't handle putting up one tree in a timely manner and you managed 5?

and while i relate to the stuffed animal thing (i punch air holes in any boxes they have to live in.), beware those furry/plushie people. things can get... odd rather quickly.

Hilary said...

Aww too cute. You've got the bear essentials covered. ;)

danielle said...

the bears are very cute; love the red one, very unusual

Shrinky said...

How neat, five trees in one room! (Now I know you're insane). All four of our kids have their own trees in their rooms, bought, decorated and placed there by themselves.. think it was Sam who started it, and the others couldn't be upstaged.

Don't ever bring your teddies over to our house, our darn hound will tear them to pieces (out of pure love) like he has with virtually all of ours. Sigh.

Melinda said...

This is just another reason why you're so awesome.
You're never too old for stuffed animals - or a forest of Christmas trees :)

Suldog said...

In answer to an interesting question:

No, we do not have a Pooh. If we did, however, we would prefer the Ernest Shepherd Pooh as opposed to the Disney Pooh. You didn't need to know that, but that's just the kind of guy I am - superfluous.

lime said...

gotta love the thrifty acquisition of multiple trees! so you rescue homeless pointsettias, artificial trees bound for the dump, and teddy bears, and you plead for unwanted fruitcakes. it all makes me like you and your wife even more. :)

Jenn said...

Love all of them but Paddington & the one with the gold crown are the cuties of the bunch. The trees are really pretty too (with your big colored light bulbs of course)!

Wanda said...

Love the picture but I really love the idea that I am not the only adult who has found themselves collecting bears, cows, moose, and assorted other critters that have no need of feeding. Long live the T-Bear!

Susan said...

Super cute Christmas decorations..!! Those trees are really pretty too.

Janet said...

I LOVE the 5 trees. We get 1 big one (this year ended up being 10 feet, but we thought we were buying 8 - we still didn't have enough room for all our ornaments, but that's another story), and I have 3 miniature trees, and the kids have 1-foot trees in their rooms.

That is a fabulous teddy bear collection - since we both have most of the plush beings from our childhoods, and the kids have been accumulating vast quantities of fuzzballs in their fairly recent appearance, we probably have 5 times that many. I'm not going to actually count, however, because I just don't want to know.

Janet said...

And I agree with you about Shepard v. Disney. We have about 5 Shepards. Also Tigger and Eeyore.