Santa Has a Death Wish

Five lessons of my first solo Christmas tree

Anna Murray
5 min readDec 25, 2022


It’s my first Christmas tree in five years. A growing puppy discouraged a tree from 2018–2020.

Photo by Hert Niks on Unsplash

Last year, my father was dying, and I was just beginning to peel back the layers of my husband’s iniquity. Yuletide cheer was in short supply. So no tree in 2021 either.

This year, as I found myself driving through Westchester, I made a game-time decision to get a tree.

I pulled into the garden center and realized this is the first Christmas tree I’ve done solo in…Ever. For me, tree purchase and setup has always been intermediated by man: Father, boyfriend, fiancé, husband, husband.

Now on my own, when the nursery proprietor named a price, I instantly agreed. First, it was half of what I would have paid back in Manhattan. Second, I had no partner there, one who seemed to believe haggling over the price of a spruce is as intrinsic to the season as plum pudding and partridges in pear trees. I paid and shoved the tree in my hatchback.

Photo by Ian Keefe on Unsplash

Back in my apartment, time to erect the tree. This was another exercise, I recalled, that involved much cursing at…



Anna Murray

Tech expert, novelist, and essay writer with an ticklish funny bone. My novel, “Greedy Heart,” is First Best Book Finalist in the VIVIAN Awards.