I don’t know if it was the first snow of the season glistening on the pristine Vermont landscape or my excitement over a holiday that makes my glitter obsession socially acceptable for one month a year, but last weekend I found myself in the market for a Christmas tree topper. Hoping to tick that box while enjoying a vibrant, Christmas-y atmosphere, I naively pranced (a la the seasonal reindeer) into the promising-sounding Christmas Tree Shops. (Editor’s note: Yes, there is an ‘s,’ even though there is only one shop in a location at a time. Blatant grammatical fail. An Urchin somewhere just lost her wings.)
In order to enter the store, which I had imagined as a cross between a Martha Stewart-sponsored craft fair and the North Pole, I had to trek down an uncomfortably industrial hallway of 6-metre-tall brick walls lined with overflowing discount bins of wrapping paper, bows, and the odd inflatable snowperson. I should have sensed the foreboding but was too busy humming the soundtrack from Love, Actually.
Once inside, however, it didn’t take long to realise that this wasn’t going to be the winter wonderland of my holiday reveries. Rather than a dimly lit shoppe filled with quaintly decorated Christmas trees glowing with holiday cheer, I was met with what seemed like thousands of irate Upstate New Yorkers all vying for the same spool of red ribbon. There were screaming babies, shoving adults, and moping teenagers everywhere I looked. The warehouse-esque room was jam-packed with everything from green and red gift bags to mistletoe-emblazoned toilet paper, all lit from above with glaring fluorescents. It was the Walmart of Christmas.
Needless to say, my tree remains topless. (Perverts.)