When I was a little girl I remember being horrified when I heard my grandma Hilda was not putting up a regular Christmas tree one year.  Everyone, I believed, needed a festively decorated tree up for Christmas. Grandma explained it was simply too much work. I wanted to put up a tree for her.

This year it will be the third year we haven’t had a regular Christmas tree in our home—just the one in the photo, which really doesn’t count. It sits in the corner on a table, while my extensive ornament collection remains boxed in my closet.  The reason for no tree this year—the puppies and the fact, it will just be hubby and Mom for Christmas.

They aren’t exactly puppies anymore—last year Danny was not quite six months at Christmas, and Lily was about four months old. But hubby thinks they are probably too rambunctious for a tree, especially for Lily with her resource guarding issue we’re trying to deal with. I cringe to think what she would do if she snagged an ornament hook.

This morning I was drinking my coffee and thinking of our past Christmas trees. That first year out of three we didn’t have a tree was back in 2008—the year Lady came into our home. She wasn’t even as old as Lily on that first Christmas. It was also the first year that at least one of our kids didn’t come home for Christmas. Both our son and daughter married in 2008.

The second time without a tree was last year, and this will be the third year. As I sipped my coffee this morning and thought of those treeless years, my mind wandered back to Don’s and my first Christmas as a married couple, living in our first apartment, and our first dog, Pepper, who we rescued. Literally rescued—she was a pup wandering confused and hungry on the street and no one claimed her. She was with us 18 years.

That first Christmas together, Don and I never considered not having a tree, despite the fact we left Pepper alone in our apartment for hours while we went to work. What were we thinking? But, we were young.

As it turned out, Pepper never seemed to bother a single ornament—or the tree—or so, we thought.

In our early years together, our Christmas trees would include a strand with popcorn and fresh cranberries. The string would be a short row of popcorn, one cranberry, more popcorn, one cranberry, and so on.

One evening, while sipping eggnog or some other Christmas beverage, I was sitting on the sofa in our small apartment admiring our lovely tree. Back in those days, we didn’t have artificial trees—they were real pine trees.  I looked admiringly at the tree when something peculiar caught my attention.

That long strand of popcorn and cranberry, wrapped festively around our little tree was sorely missing one thing—popcorn.  It was simply: several inches of string, a cranberry, several inches of string, a cranberry, and so on.

Our little Pepper had meticulously nibbled off every bit of popcorn from the string—without pulling down the tree or even the string from the branches. 

Such a clever dog. That is her in the photo.

6 comments on “Dogs & Christmas Trees

  1. Susie

    Sweet story about a very clever dog ☺ but I still think you should have a Christmas tree. Last year I debated not having one. 1. I live alone. 2. My 2 rambunctious grandbabygirls, they were 2 & 3 at that time, would try to climb it. They tried to climb EVERYTHING! It would be a mess. Ultimately, I decided to buy a 4ft artificial tree. The babies had a blast & it made me feel better, more at peace just looking at the lights. Did my little ones demolish the tree? Not totally but they had a ball with it LoL
    Merry Christmas to you and your family

    1. Bobbi Holmes Post author

      Trust me…I am tempted…but we will see. First I need to put up the Dicken’s village and Nativity scene….Merry Christmas to you and yours too!

  2. Sue

    What a cute story. We are a cat family and have had our share of disasters with the Christmas trees. Makes for great memories though!

    1. Bobbi Holmes Post author

      When our cat first adopted us, that first Christmas we used a spray bottle to keep him from fussing with the tree. It only took a couple sprays–he is a smart cat. Never really bothered the tree since then. He’s about 16 years old now. I don’t think the pups will be as accommodating. LOL. Merry Christmas!

  3. deancat

    That Pepper sounds like a smart girl!

    We’ve had various cats (or they’ve had us) for about fifteen years. None of them have done well with Christmas trees of any kine. They play with the ornaments and lights, knock over the pots containing small, tabletop trees, and generally make it known that they and Christmas trees do not mix. We pretty much stick to wreaths on the front and back doors now.

    1. Bobbi Holmes Post author

      We have a cat who is about 16 now…he adopted us when he was about a year (that is our vet’s guess at his age.) That first Christmas, I zapped him with a spray bottle every time he fussed with the tree. It only took a couple quirts. He never really bothered the tree again.

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