After getting married, my wife and I were excited to have our very first Christmas together in our new house. We went all out with the decorations and cookies, wanting to make it a Christmas to remember. All our lives, we had been subjected to plastic artificial trees that our parents always dragged out of the attic after Thanksgiving. Well, we weren’t going to have any of that fakery on our first Christmas, no way! We headed out to the local Christmas tree farm and picked a beautiful, round blue spruce that barely fit through the front door.
It was glorious. We spent the next few hours covering it with lights — LOTS of lights — and tinsel and decorations. Now, THIS was a Christmas tree! Exhausted, we cuddled up on the couch with our egg nog, admiring our handiwork. The lights were twinkling, and the star was casting its glow across the ceiling. I looked at my wife and noticed something on the wall behind her head. Looking closer, the little something moved, well jumped really, and then it was gone.
Strange, but then I looked up at the ceiling, all aglow from the star, and there were lots of little somethings crawling up there. I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter, and what to my wondering eyes did appear but miniature praying mantises all over the tree! Every branch was covered with these walking creatures, no bigger than your thumbnail. They were on the floor, on the couch, and the end table. I turned to my wife and found her staring down at her reindeer sweater, which was crawling with tiny baby insects. Then the screaming started.
I ran for the vacuum cleaner and attacked that tree with a fury, sucking up hundreds upon hundreds of bugs, but they kept coming, and they were spreading out in all directions. There was just one thing to do. I looked at my wife and she gave me a nod, knowing what had to be done. I reached down and grabbed the tree by its trunk and hauled it toward the back porch. I probably should have unplugged the lights first, but my adrenaline-fueled strength ripped the plugs free from the sockets. The back porch required dragging the tree through the dining room, and a trail of pine needles and insects was left in my wake.
The sliding glass door to the porch wasn’t quite wide enough for the tree, so I had to tackle the tree in order to get it to fit through the opening. Again, a massive pile of needles and bugs was left behind. The screaming stopped and was replaced by the high powered whine of a Shop-Vac — big jobs require big tools.
We eventually got all the bugs and needles cleaned up and sat down heavily at the dining room table, looking out at our beautiful tree laying in a pile on the back porch. The next day, we went out and bought a plastic tree that we still use to this day.
This week, the League of Extraordinary Bloggers is recounting Christmases of the past. Check ’em out!
Erik Johnson Illustrator says
My goodness! Every story I hear about chopping down Christmas trees involves some kind of animal attack. Don’t they shake those things down for you at all the big tree farms?
To think I just went with an artificial tree because I didn’t want to get pricked by needles while decorating.
Rich - Nerd Nook says
Where’s Eddie? He usually eats these things!?
I guess that is the only good thing about living in the frozen northeast, the cold kills everything. Thanks for sharing this it was quite the read.
Dex (@Dex1138) says
Are you in one of those states where it’s illegal to kill them? 😀
The statute of limitations has run out. 😉
John Gaither says
lol! That is a funny and wild story that really made it a Christmas to remember.
Patrick (Nerd Out With Me) says
Holy Frakking god! I love praying mantises… and have a bunch of pictures of me holding them… but that’s a bit much. I can’t imagine the site of them coming out like that…. just spreading out over the ceiling. Unreal.
Yeah, it was a bit much. My guess is that there was an egg sac on the tree that hatched once the tree was brought into the warmth of the house. Gotta love nature!
Rich - Nerd Nook says
Lol. That sucks! True story, you posted this to Facebook and a few posts later a science page I follow on there posted a picture of a beautiful Christmas tree with a caption that read something along the lines of “enjoy that tree, it very well may house up to 25,000 insects etc” anyway Merry Christmas!
Ha! It really makes you look at that tree differently doesn’t it? 😉
And then Uncle Louis’ toupee caught fire..
I hope that you have a praying mantis ornament to commemorate that Christmas.
Ha! We do have a large praying mantis toy that sits on one of the branches. 😉