O Christmas Tree

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I’m always one of those people who waits to the very last second to decide what she’s doing on New Year’s. It’s not that I don’t think about it well in advance—heck, I’m usually wondering how I’ll be ringing in January 1 way back in October—it’s just that New Year’s is totally stressful and nothing ever sounds good enough or turns out as fun as you’d planned (case in point: New Year’s 2003 ended in cough syrup-induced alcohol poisoning, 2004 with LP losing a tooth in her drink + us being hauled back to our hotel in a cop car). I’m not so much a partier—anymore—so forking over a $100 cover plus cost for drinks to go to some fancy bar isn’t the least bit appealing, and here in San Francisco, no one has an apartment or house big enough to hold a holiday shindig.

NYE 2005 at Hogmanay in Edinburgh, Scotland; returned to my old stomping ground to spend it with former flatmate from 2003, Jo, and her boyfriend and current flatmates

So per the norm, it was New Year’s Eve Eve and I was still none the wiser to how I’d be celebrating my foray into 2009. A quick call to Jemima changed that; she had previously mentioned scorching Christmas trees on Ocean Beach and had hashed out all the details (need for permit, parking, rules). So add the remaining necessary ingredients—boyfriend (for New Year’s kiss purposes only, of course), s’mores, hot chocolate, Bailey’s, bourbon, one Moose, ski gear to guard against the chill, and of course some discarded pines—and our low-key New Year’s ball was a rollin’.

NYE 2006 party at my apartment in NYC; my New Year’s smooch, from left: Emma (a cute Aussie who surfed my couch), she-who-shall-not-be-named (Manhattan “socialite” we no longer speak to), me, Lemon

Only, um, apparently no one in San Francisco bought trees this year, or if they did, they were hoarding them in their own cozy homes (do they not know it’s bad luck to take the tree down after New Year’s?). Or maybe in the Year of Cutting Back, that’s one such luxury people skimped on, to which I say, BAH HUMBUG! It’s Christmas, people! Cut back on the fancy toilet paper and La Mer night cream, sure, but DON’T NEGLECT THE HOLIDAYS! Not like I’m one to talk because SVV and I didn’t get a tree either, but that’s because we were in Tennessee for two whole weeks, where my mom had THREE trees decorated and ready to go, plus a whole lot of other garland, so it seemed pointless.

NYE 2007 at Cantina in Nashville; SVV and I celebrating our first NYE in the same zip code

During our Quest for Trees, eager beaver that I am, I kept mistaking bushes for the real thang, only to find they were merely shrubs posing as Christmas trees. Finally, when it looked like all might be lost, and after perusing Hayes Valley, Nob Hill and surrounding areas, SVV spotted two in our own ‘burb. As we went to retrieve Moose in the Sunset, we drove past SVV’s old house, disgruntled by the lack of trees-on-curbs—we envisioned a burning ceremony, complete with pagan rituals and voodoo chants, of 20 trees or more—we stumbled upon an intersection that boasted a tree on three of the four corners, so Moose, SVV and I each claimed our own.

Moose exercises her unrelenting brawn

We arrived to the firepit around 6:30, dragging menacing ferns behind us, to find Jemima and her darling hubby Simons (with whom SVV totally shares a mutual bro crush) turning to icicles by the fire. It really wasn’t that cold, J had just accidentally poured an entire beer down her crotch. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? I was sporting long johns, a boucle sweater and cords, and didn’t even bust out my fur-and-suede coat (here’s where PETA supporters throw paint on my blog) until 11pm. Our Christmas tree shelter kept the wind at bay, and the temp stayed in the upper 40’s throughout the night.

Simons amid our beachfront forest

We had invited several other friends, but no one else showed up due to various excuses—jetlag, other plans, the Crud, our lack of early planning—which was fine in the end, as we had a grand old time, just the five of us humans and canine companion. Then, there was the Big Momma at the pit next to us who had no concept of volume (or class, it seems) and periodically entertained us with her outbursts and expletives. “STOP, DROP AND MOTHER F*CKIN’ ROLL!” she exclaimed at one point, as the residents way up in Marin County awoke from their slumbers. (Apparently, someone must have caught on fire.) Not to mention, we were kind of the most beloved pit on the beach, as no one else had trees, and other groups of hippies and pot dealers kept gravitating toward us, asking when we were going to light the trees on fire and if they could join in on our ceremony (you can only have 25 people or less if you don’t have a permit, which we didn’t). Some even offered to provide live music.

Burn, baby, burn!

Of course this could mean a stifling bout of performance anxiety. “What if we go from the popular kids on the beach…” I started, “…to the ones who can’t get it up!” Moose finished (we are so on the same wavelength like that, me and my antlered pal). Luckily, SVV and Simons brought the gasoline, and our fire did not disappoint.

The cross is not meant to be symbolic

I didn’t get a New Year’s kiss from SVV until several minutes after the clock struck midnight and I was thinking I might have to wait till 2010, but I did receive a  prompt Mooselicious hug in which, erm, my hand somehow ended up resting on one of her twin peaks (I wasn’t even drunk, I swear!). And the best part is I didn’t notice this epiphany until she politely said, “um, whoa there!” Embarrassment? Not really. She totally dug it.

Feel the Burn from krysleigh on Vimeo.

Worth watching with sound, if not for our lovely vocals alone

Happy 2009!

*More pics from our fun-filled evening here

  • January 1, 2009

    Awesome idea. You win best NYE!

  • January 1, 2009

    HAAAAAA. Moose is a great girl to ring in the New Year with 😉

  • January 1, 2009

    you gotta wait until may when the trees are nice and dried out – and then talk about a bonfire!

    happy new year!

  • January 1, 2009

    HAPPY NEW YEAR LOVELY!!!!!!! Lets catch up on emal session soon!!! Miss ya!

  • January 1, 2009

    Sounds like a blast! D and I celebrated up here in Portland with fireworks in the rain, but he would have loved to burn bigger things 🙂

  • January 2, 2009

    Oh my god, that sounds like an amazing way to ring in the new year! Glad you guys were able to “to get it up” 🙂
    Oh, and P.S. My surprise package from Jon? It definitely works well!! Hee hee!

  • January 2, 2009

    How fun!

    I’m not a big fan of NYE either because it usually is a disappointment if you go somewhere and spend all that money. So I choose to have people over and be in my PJs and drink lots of wine!

    Happy 2009!

  • January 2, 2009

    Burn mother burn!:) Happy New Year!

  • January 2, 2009

    What a cool (and warm) NYE! hehe, Happy New Year!

  • January 2, 2009

    I’m so glad you put in the disclaimer about the cross, because for a second there I was wondering. 🙂

    Happy, HAPPY New Year to you! xo

  • January 2, 2009

    I always loathe NYE as well. Mercifully on vacation, so no plans necessary this year! Tree bonfire isn’t a bad idea either…

  • January 3, 2009

    AWESOME!!! What a fabulous idea. Props.

  • January 3, 2009

    That’s the best New Year’s story I have heard!

  • January 3, 2009

    damn, I have not one, but TWO trees that are just ripe for burning!

    Happy 2009!

  • January 4, 2009

    We went to watch the fireworks in Marina Del Rey and as 100+ people crowded around the docks to watch the show – the fog rolled in around 11 and got heavier as the hour ticked by and by midnight we couldn’t even see the boats 10 feet away so we heard what was supposed to be a spectacular fireworks display but saw nothing. But I did enjoy the singing and commentary in the video. Happy New Year!

  • January 5, 2009

    Oh, that makes me happy. Especially our bourbon-fueled chorus of “Oh Christmas Tree” and your sheepish explanation of the boob-grab. Best New Year’s yet.

  • January 6, 2009

    Would love to know what you think of our new trip planning site, NileGuide (www.nileguide.com).

  • January 6, 2009

    so you’re the one starting all those wildfires!!!! I’ve always wanted to burn a tree but we live in a town with really amazing police and fire department.

  • January 8, 2009

    Some friends and I did a similar thing in high school. SO fun!!!

    Not so similar in that it was not at the beach as it was in Texas.
    Not so similar in that the cops showed up and accused us of being ‘devil worshopers’. Again…Texas.

    I recall a lack of singing, hippies (thankfully) and ‘peak’ grabbing…although, that was many years ago.

    Happy 2009 to all y’all!!!

  • October 23, 2017

    Thank you for sharing your NYE experience on the beach. You became the host of a New Year eve fire ceremony. Being the host of any party or ceremony can bring up some performance anxiety , specially as many unexpected guests join in.

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