Bruce the Spruce

Many commented very kindly last week about the lovely green decorations that the resident teenagers created for our porch, and after I had tried to assure one commentator that not all of our decorating is up to that standard, she basically challenged me to show her the goods.  So, Union Homestead – this is for you:

christmas decorating 001 smallchristmas decorating 002 small

This charming decoration has been a family tradition for about 14 years.  Bruce sings Jingle Bells at a fast pace in a tinny sort of Dean Martin voice.  He is motion activated and in the beginning the girls took great delight in ambushing anyone – parents, the cat, the dog, visitors, etc by placing Bruce in strategic locations around the house.  That all stopped when I used the same tactic to ambush any nighttime/early morning visitors to the Christmas stockings. I am told those flashing eyes are “freaky” when in a pitch dark room.  Frankly, I find the whole idea of a singing flashing Christmas tree with a name a little freaky, but that’s just me.

I just found out this year about the Elf on a Shelf fad going on these days, and I’m thankful at least that we created our own tradition without help from a DVD, a website, or a game, and that even though it involves a freaky flashing fir, it does not require me to buy any other “stuff” to make the tradition work.  To be fair, some people have been very creative in how they make the whole Elf thing work. Our 16 yr old babysat for a household recently where a visiting youngster had accidentally left a toy behind.  The family gave the toy to their elf upon going to bed, in the hopes that it would be communing with the elf residing in their little friend’s house, and lo and behold, the next day at school it transpired that yes indeed, the child had her toy back, thanks to the busy little elves.  I mean, that’s pretty creative stuff.  I would have just packed it in my daughter’s backpack to take to school the next day, but there you go – our creativity clearly peaked with the arrival of Bruce in our home more than a decade ago.

It might be unfair to sneer at the Elf thing.  Advent calendars were once all the rage, from my childhood ones depicting a sunny sandy looking Bethlehem with windows opening onto a paper background with a little picture of a candy cane or a candle, to the Spiderman and Dora chocolate calendars currently popular.

Then there’s the Pickle tradition I only learned about last week.

For lots of people this time of year is being marked by Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Christmas, or maybe some other cultural celebration I’ve not heard of.  Though I’m Christian, and therefore for me, this is the time to celebrate the birth of Christ, for many, it’s simply a time to gather family together, to feast and have some fun.  That’s awesome.  But regardless of the why for celebration, it seems to me that we should be a little choosier about what we decide to make a tradition.  I mean, a pickle??? And doesn’t anyone else find this elf concept a little close to spying?   And while we’re on the topic, why DO I have those lights up on the outside of the house?  What possible tie in to Christmas made us all buy into that tradition?  I think I should maybe not do them next year, and save myself hours of ladder work, not to mention sanity…maybe I’ll leave a note for a Christmas elf to find asking him(are there female elves?) to hang pickles from my eaves next year, thereby starting a new tradition.

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7 thoughts on “Bruce the Spruce

  1. Carrie says:

    Maybe the entire ‘problem’ has been resolved? http://trsbooks.co.uk/2014/12/wordle-191-or-i-wish/ 🙂 🙂

    Have a good Christmas and all the best for 2015

  2. df says:

    Oh my goodness, Bruce the Spruce looks like such a crazy, fun tradition! I love how far outside the box he is! And you are so right, a tradition that doesn’t involve the need for more stuff is surely a good idea. (I’m equally perplexed by the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon by the way!)

  3. I needed some Christmas cheer and this post sure cheered me up! Bruce the spruce – he cracks me up!
    Inspired by your girls I decided to make garlands for the windows and a wreath for the door – after all, we have piles and piles of cedar limbs after the semi-recent tree felling. To make a long story short, it started to pour down rain (I don’t have a covered work space), I couldn’t twist the floral wire with my gloves on so had to take them off then proceeded to poke several holes in both of my thumbs – the blood, mud and numbing cold didn’t help my hands to rip the hard-plastic “handy dispenser” into pieces trying to untangle the jammed up floral wire, and so only one window was [will be] decorated and my “wreath” became a centerpiece for the table as it was too heavy and floppy to hang on the door. My thumbs are still swollen and sore…
    If I had a Bruce the Spruce right now – he’d be our Christmas tree this year as I have yet to get a tree!

    • Oh my… I sense just a tinge of frustration…yes, we’re probably sharing the same deluging blustery weather the last week or so, since mine is blowing up from Puget Sound. It stops being fun when you’re wet and cold and bloody. Still, I like the idea of turning the wreath into a centrepiece and I never thought of garlands for the window…what if you went authentic country and used bindertwine instead of wire?

  4. Bill says:

    We’ve been slow to get up any decorations this year. As of now, in fact, our tree etc. is still in the attic.

    If it makes it out of the attic, we’ll carry on our decorating tradition. For about 20 years we’ve crowned our tree each year with an ornament our son made at school. I think it was originally supposed to be an angel, but our son (who didn’t like to color within the lines) varied from the script and declared his to be Sergei, a cosmonaut. Sergei lost his head early in his existence. We may well be the only family in the world who has a headless cosmonaut on the top of their tree.

  5. Yes, I think you may well be right about the headless cosmonaut. 🙂

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