T'was the week before Christmas, lo those many years ago and the Dragon family purchased a tree from the selection at the grocery store.
(In our part of the world, if you're not cutting your own, you get one from the supermarket.)
Well, there weren't a lot to choose from and Papa Dragon picked the best one he could.
Apparently, this meant a tree that had been cut in oh...September or there abouts.
We discovered this when we removed the protective mesh and nothing moved to "fluff up".
Not a branch. Not a twig. Not a single needle.
Correction - there were needles.
A small flood of brown needles to be precise.
Well, the tree was still mostly green, so we tried to fluff it up a bit.
Note, dear reader, my use of the word "tried".
The branches were not particularly interested in returning to their original, spread out state.
They seemed content to stay snug against the trunk, in some bizarre form of arboreal hibernation.
Looking more closely, we noticed that the branches had trapped a considerable amount of...stuff...between the boughs and the trunk.
Presumably this was mostly needles, but there was so much of it, that we weren't sure about the presence of additional livestock.
You know - mice. Squirrels. Moose...
In any case, no one was interested in reaching their hands in to clear out the mess and extract the trapped branches.
Being reasonably intelligent - and not a little desperate - we decided to let gravity do the work.
Accordingly, I turned the tree upside down.
And shook it vigorously. Stuff fell out.
Encouraged, I repeated the process several more times.
Unfortunately, while I seem intelligent enough to acknowledge the function of gravity, I also lack depth perception.
On approximately the fourth or fifth shake I bumped the top of the tree into the deck.
The top foot or so of the tree snapped like, well, a dry twig.
"Honey", I called, "I've decapitated the Christmas tree."
The entire family trooped out to observe the carnage.
The consensus was clear.
I'd killed it.
Yep. I killed the Christmas tree.
Oddly enough, no one seemed inclined go back to the store and select another "live" tree.
And that is why the Dragon family currently uses an artificial tree.
And I'm happy to say that I've never decapitated it.