Keep the Peace

I started looking online for solutions more than a month ago. Nothing seemed like it would work.

The holidays are magical to me. I love putting the tree up right after Thanksgiving and coming home to it each evening. With all the lights on a timer, it would greet me through the plantation shutters when I arrived home from work; tiny bulbs twinkled and reflected off ornaments, metallic ribbon and decorations drenched in glitter. It was a peaceful sight.

But not this year. Two rescue kitties took up the first part of my year, and during their saving process I gave nary a thought to how I’d handle a tree come Christmas.

They’re indoor guys, and confining them to one room plus a hallway — just so I could have a tree up for a month — seems cruel. They’re not allowed in my bedroom, and the office is also off-limits. That leaves the large front living room, hallway and guest room for them. Their space isn’t the largest, but it’s far more than the tiny cages they’d been cooped up in. They’ll get more of the house someday, but that’s another story. For now, I imagine their new digs with daily sunlight that comes streaming through the shutters are close to heaven.

But the Christmas tree always goes in the living room. Always. The massive picture window has forever done a spectacular job of properly framing it — until this year.

Visions of coming home to find one or both cats pinned underneath a toppled tree didn’t sit well with me. Nor did shattered ornaments, or them chewing on such things. The word online is that placing citrus fruit peel or spraying a tree with citrus scent works like a charm. With my luck, it wouldn’t. Besides, who wants to smell citrus during a pine and cinnamon time of year? Or hang orange peels from ornament hooks? Or place said peels at the base of the tree while hoping the cats don’t go rogue and decide to snack on them? Surely that would result in yet another vet bill.

I’ll pass.

I wondered if I could rig something protective that would go around a full-size tree. Eight-foot tall baby barricade? Ugh. Besides, the cats would scale it like the tree it was intended to protect. Trellis panels hinged together? Yuck. (Read: unattractive and janky. Yes, janky.) I realized my ideas — all of which were unfit for cats, as well as peddling on crappy late-night infomercials — amounted to one big, giant fail.

But wait! An epiphany.

Realizing that the shutters created a mini jail for about six inches of space between the window itself and its frame, I knew what my option was: use the picture window to my advantage, capitalize on the protection the shutters offered, screw a hook into the top of the window frame and suspend a beautiful wreath from it.


The wreath would live in safety, the cats’ world wouldn’t be whittled down or citrusified and there’d still be something twinkling at me each night I pull into the driveway. One month of searching the web for cat-be-gone solutions followed by terrible tree-protecting ideas was solved with the notion of a wreath.

It went up today, and it is lovely. The cats are none the wiser, as it’s in its shuttered jail.

Nothing will be climbed.

Or toppled.

Life is good. And safe for all.

Tonight I am thankful for Christmas being able to live on in a familiar way. It may not be the giant tree I’ve come to look forward to each year, but it’s Christmas just the same — not to mention a great solution for keeping the peace. What’s that they say? Adapt or die? Tonight I’m proud to report that through adaptation, the holidays will, indeed, live on here at the casa.

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