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AMY KIRK: Redneck decor takes the ‘Charlie Brown tree’ to new heights

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opinion Mitchell,South Dakota 57301
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AMY KIRK: Redneck decor takes the ‘Charlie Brown tree’ to new heights
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Amy Kirk, Daily Republic Columnist  When it comes to getting and decorating our Christmas tree for the holidays, our family knows how to do it differently.


We don’t do spendy, perfectly shaped and uniformly filled-in trees for sale or artificial trees. Instead we opt to find ourselves a socially unacceptable Christmas tree. Especially now that the bark beetle plague has wiped out perfectly good pine trees in epidemic numbers, my husband and I find it even harder to want to harvest a good tree.

We’ve always let our kids do the picking, so our Christmas trees usually have a Charlie Brown touch to them. We also get into theme-decorating our cull-looking trees. Our theme is “Elmer’s glue homemade hodgepodge.”

The Christmas decorations on our kid-picked tree include homemade decorations. Ornaments like a photo of my son’s face cut out and glued onto the head of a store-bought gingerbread man, ribbon-attached Polaroid pictures taken in 2005 by a babysitter of my kids dinking off in front of our tree, Sunday school-colored and glued paper angels, crooked beaded icicles, candy cane reindeer (that they used to want to eat every year), and freehand cut out and sewn-together stockings with glued-on glitter.

We have many school picture ornaments too. Photos glued onto pieces of wood, juice can lids and fun-foam. The famous “chappy-stash” picture is my son’s kindergarten picture when he sucked his lower lip raw. His fifth-grade picture represents the year of his white-T-shirts-every-day phase. Our daughter’s ornaments include photos signifying the year she cut her hair, or her Otis phase, when her favorite stuffed animal was ever-present.

This year, we incorporated a new theme — redneck. Warning: For any tree decorators who are obsessive about tree perfectness, balanced ornamentand-lights placement, or classy-themed decorating, I don’t want to be responsible for giving you a coronary — but duct tape was involved this year as a result of my son’s tree carelessness. This is why moms should be present for the tree-picking tradition — to supervise.

My husband, kids and our son’s girlfriend went after our tree while I stayed at the house and dug out the ornaments, lights and decorations, and made apple cider. It’s still unclear to me why my son brutally compromised our tree’s top with an axe, but it had something to do with misinterpreting dad’s instructions regarding tree height (good — at least I’m not the only one who misinterprets dad’s instructions).

In addition to our Clark Griswold-like tree, several efforts were made before we could get the tree to stay upright in the stand due to its lack of branches on one side. My suggestion was to weigh it down in the back by tying a rock to it, and my son of all people, said, “This isn’t a fencing project” (my suggestion is also how people around here weigh down T-posts in rocky ground).

After attempting to conceal the broken top, it was decided that we needed to improvise a treetop to give our tree the illusion of having a treetop, so we applied the “makin’ chicken salad out of chicken doo-doo” approach. This is where the duct tape came in, but not just standard duct tape, camo duct tape. A lower limb was cut and camo duct-taped to the broken top, allowing our tree topper to finally be added.

With the exception of our tree’s replacement treetop branches pointing in the opposite direction, you can’t even tell the top was ever missing.

— Amy Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at

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