today, the dumpster household set up our christmas tree. we aren't particularly christian, or religious, but we adore family traditions. they make us feel whole. and this holiday in particular, with sparkling lights and presents to open, makes the never-ending wet of northwest winter much more bearable. so the ritual of setting up the tree and celebrating christmas, well to us it's more about celebrating life, and family, and creativity, and each other. our tree is a six foot charlie brown bare skeleton, sculpted by james. he dreams of having an entire christmas tree lot one day, full of these sculptures. the tree is a one inch dowel with holes drilled in it, and in each hole is a branch, custom whittled at the end to fit snug, trimmed and shaped accordingly so the combination of dowel and branches makes itself into a convincing replica. at the bottom, the dowel fits into an upside down wooden planter box, that holds the tree up. over top of the box is grandma mickie's bright red felt tree skirt. we've got ourselves a stuffed star topper made from an old sweater, some ornaments made out of bailing wire and bark chips and crushed cans and losing scratch tickets and hand-crocheted doilies. yes, today we set up the tree, our way, the lucky dumpster way. and yes, our colorful glowing skeleton tree, garnished with tacky lights and random bits of garbage, it looks more and more like a tree shrine, every time i look at it.