You know I like the shiny stuff. And among the shiniest of shiny stuff are Christmas ornaments--especially old glass ones with a shimmery patina that evokes those old fashioned trees dripping with tinsel and baubles.
The tinsel I gave up on years ago. After they stopped selling the lead tinsel icicles (and for good reason, don't get me wrong!), it was nearly impossible to get that old look with the plastic substitute. I did see a tree once that came close. It was the huge lobby tree at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco in the late 1980s, and it was festooned with tinsel--gobs of it. I realized then that the trick was to put on as much as the tree could possibly hold, and you'd approximate the look of an old-fashioned tree. But with a kitty, such things are impossible. The very least that can happen is that the kitty will end up prancing around with a thread of silver plastic hanging from her butt. The worst--you don't even want to go there.
So, we started using aluminum icicles with hooks on the end. They're not exactly the same, but they look nice, and no kitty will try to ingest them. Well, maybe a kitty will TRY, but the kitty will not succeed. If you look closely, you will see them on this tree--our 2008 tree:
If you look closely, you'll notice something else as well. The only glass ornament on the whole tree is the spire at the top.
This was for all our protection.
You see, the late, lamented Shelly would lounge beneath the tree, but the zaftig feline queen would not attempt to climb it. Too much effort. And too much cat. And she knew it, too.
The little demon. You can just tell what she's contemplating, can't you?
She was up in the tree before I could even get the thing put together all the way.
So, reluctantly, I kept the vintage glass ornaments in their tissue paper. Instead, I trotted out the nonbreakable ornaments--and I was surprised at how many of those I had! Little elves with candy canes. A plastic penguin. Some spangled Christmas balls, adorned with paillettes. Little wreaths and candy canes my mom made with plastic beads on a crafting kick a quarter of a century ago... Lots of things I had forgotten. Not as shimmery a tree, no. But not a bad tree, all told.
Nothing but a spray bottle of water kept the little samurai kitty away from that tree. The expensive spray we bought at the pet store didn't do a thing. Neither did the moat of aluminum foil we placed around the tree. She hopped over it. The orange extract and water mixture we sprayed on the tree kept her at a distance for a while, but it wore off pretty fast.
No, the only thing that would keep her away from the fake conifer was the spray bottle--by the time the tree was up a week, all I had to do was pick the bottle up, and she took off down the hall.
Of course, I know she was up there when we were gone or otherwise engaged... after all, I caught her headed down the hall with a papier-mache dinosaur in her mouth, hook hanging.
And as I took the decorations down the other day, I couldn't find one of my favorites--not a glass ornament, but one that I've hung on the tree every year since I bought it my first Christmas in San Francisco, at Macy's where I was temping in the personnel department. I feared the worst--after all, it was a little nest with two little birds in it. It wasn't until I started unhooking the lights one by one that I found it, under the tree on the far side. Clearly, the fearsome huntress had snagged it from its place on the tree. And clearly, she had tried to eat it. And succeeded in part. One of the birdies was missing its feathery tail.
Hmmm. No wonder Mifune seems partial to the food with chicken in it.
Well, maybe next year I'll try a glass ornament or two, provided she has calmed down a bit. Right now, she's just a bundle of energy, and most of the time we're home with her is proverbial kitty crazy time.
No matter--I hope everyone's Christmas was peaceful and full of joy.
Labels: Christmas, Mifune, sparkly things