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For those who saw on Sunday that today was supposed to be a sCrap Wood Challenge (hosted by Sawdust Girl), she decided to postpone it for a week, so I’m pushing a few things around in my calendar in order to keep up. This post was intended on going up next week, but since I had a gap for today, I figured I’d publish this early. Spoilers!


For the last couple of Christmases, I haven’t really done much in terms of participating via decor. Last year, I put my old tree up just barely before the holiday and realized that half of the lights had been blown out. I made a mental note to try to fix them by this year (ha! did. not. happen.), and save for a replacement. In fact, I’d intended on flat-out replacing it sooner, but the Black Friday deals last year had me bitter that I couldn’t track the one I wanted down (sadly, they were all sold out in record time). I’ve had my eye on an LED tree with remote that reached closer to the ceiling than my current 6-foot version, and after realizing that I’d either have to beeline it on Black Friday or miss out (again) on the tree I wanted, well…

Christmas tree

I went ahead and splurged. Anyone know of a good tree fluffer? (One of my friends already snickered at my using the term, so joke’s already there for what you will.) It’s not really this sparse… I just have to spend a while bending out all of the branches to make it look full after being so tightly compacted in the box. For those wondering, this is the Martha Stewart Living 7.5′ LED white/multi tree from Home Depot. I’m no stranger to camping out and stalking a good deal on Black Friday as a family tradition, but missing out another year with a tree that’s half-lit and a pain in the butt and scratchy left me feeling anxious. I want to decorate NOW. So, since I’d already been saving up, I went ahead and got my tree two full weeks early. It arrived on my doorstep just as I was heading out for last weekend’s beach trip, so I was very excited to see him put together when I got home.

As for why it’s a “him”? It’s the new Uncle Knick-Knack (for those who aren’t familiar with that completely weird family story, click here). There’s no telling how long my patience will last trying to fluff this thing out. Where are my project elves to do this for me while I sleep? Pretty please?

Anyway, getting a bigger tree also meant moving around my furniture layout, which led to something I dread even more than tree fluffing: cleaning. Specifically, the tumbleweeds of dog hair and paw prints that Charlie leaves in her wake. I’m normally OK, but not great, at making sure it doesn’t get out of control in the living room, but it likes to collect in tumbleweed form around the harder-to-clean corners and secretly gather in mass quantities under the couch. It’s like a secret club that knows as soon as the lights come on, they’re all going to jail (in my vacuum cleaner).

Christmas tree and Charlie
guilt face

Lousy analogy. Anyway… I’ve mentioned this many times over on the blog, but cleaning is a beast of a chore that I put off for as long as possible. I have even gone so far as to make it a prank in my site’s menu bar since the blog began more than five years ago (click on “Cleaning and Recipes” if you don’t know what I’m talking about). But as much as I hate it, I can’t escape the need for a basic periodic clean, no matter how pointless it seems while I’m creating drywall dust in the kitchen, especially with Charlie around. She is, by far, the main reason why I both have to clean and feel obligated to do it. I marvel at how little time needs to pass before it’s messy again. And I hardly ever use this room!

Christmas tree and Charlie

That, and my laminate floors (that I love so much) show every little spec of dust, dirt, and flip flop marks. I still love them because of how well they’ve held up over the years, but man… when it rains and the dog gets through the room before I get a chance to wipe her paws, it shows.

For example: even after vacuuming up what was left under the couch (ew), there were stray hairs that refused to succumb to my favorite cleaning tool. So, I had to turn to another option to get the rest, which pleasantly does a double duty of picking up more dirt that I can’t see and grabs remaining pet hair. I’ve been using Swiffer products for a long time now, but they recently sent me a HUGE box of stuff as part of their #SwifferFanatics program (they also brought me up to Cincinnati to visit the P&G museum and headquarters earlier this year… I’d recommend the museum for all of its old-timey products and packaging, which were really interesting to see… Cincinnati, not so much).

Swoffer wet jet

The sequence usually goes vacuum, dry sweeper, then wet sweeper if Charlie has been tracking in mud. Sure, it’s not a deep clean with a steamer, but that can wait. “Good enough” is good enough for me because I’ve got other things I need to get to, like arranging the branches on this enormous new tree (unless, by some miracle, those project elves come do it for me while I sleep). And after so many weeks of rain making me miserable, I simply can’t stand to look at Charlie’s paw prints anymore (or whatever the heck that filth is that she’s tracking onto my floors).

Christmas tree

Perfect? No, but since when was that the bar I set for this house? Grab this thing, push a button, and my house is a lot cleaner than it would be otherwise? Yeah, that works. Time for a tree skirt.

Swiffer is one of those brands that I’ve enjoyed working with because the products have a lot of fun science-y stuff they like to brag about and the promo team has a fun sense of humor (plus, I’ve used their stuff to spend less time cleaning since I had an apartment, so this is basically just filling my closet with the same stuff I’ve always used). They’ve been teasing me lately by sending pics and videos via email of their latest endorser, Scandal’s Scott Foley, who of course joined the team almost exclusively to hold cute rescue dogs and look charming in front of their banners.*

Scott Foley

*not factually accurate. He’s part of their “Welcome Home” campaign, which aims to spread the word “that cleaning concerns should never be an obstacle to pet adoption”. They’ve teamed up with BarkBox to give away 10,000 Welcome Home Kits at shelters nationwide, which of course I can’t help but love, since Charlie was a rescue herself.

I know it’s probably a little early to be putting up the tree by some standards, but for whatever reason this year, it felt necessary. Has anyone else unexpectedly started early this year?

Christmas tree
(P.S. Check Instagram for updates on tree decorating.)

And as for the other tree — the one that’s somewhat broken? I’m going to see if I can fix it, and if I do, it’s going in the kitchen next to the sliding glass door (one of the doors is permanent, so it provides a great corner for viewing it). It won’t be the first time someone in our family has had more than one tree!

Christmas tree after
the older, shorter tree

Like I said, since this post got moved up from where it was supposed to be on my calendar, I’ll be posting a few hints early next week about a few more projects I’m working on… lots to do!

This post was sponsored by Swiffer as part of their #SwifferFanatics ambassador program. All words and opinions, as if it wasn’t obvious, are 100% my own (seriously, I doubt they would ever use the term “tree fluffer”).

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  1. I was gifted a 9 foot LED tree over the summer. Its GORGEOUS, but stuffing it into the only corner in my house that could remote accomodate it was a chore and a half! It’s up and decorated mostly because there isn’t enough if me to go around in the next few weeks.

    1. Totally understand. I wanted to put up the tree to brighten my spirits a little, but I usually take so long because inevitably between the first or second week of December, I get busy with other stuff.

  2. If I were out your way,I’d fluff the tree for you! I usually dry sweep with a broom, vacuum and then wet mop … when I am feeling industrious!

    1. I feel like it takes a skill and patience I just don’t possess. Thanks for the virtual volunteering though!

  3. I loveeee our swiffer (3 cats and 2 dogs in this house) because omg paw prints everywhere. Also, that will always be FELICITY’S Scott Foley to me. lol!

    1. Fair enough! But he wasn’t hot (to me) until Scandal, so I guess that’s probably where it comes from. I never got into Felicity, but I could have referred to him as Scrubs’s Scott Foley too! He played Sean. Cute then, but I get distracted by my #1 celeb crush, Zach Braff.

  4. LOL Way to throw me under the bus girl. As you should. Your tree is lovely and I want to hug and kiss Charlie for making your feel obligated to clean your house periodically. Goodness! Bwahahahaha

    1. HA! No throwing under buses of any kind. I didn’t even start my project until today since I knew it would be pushed back! I just wanted to explain in case someone wanted to know why I wasn’t posting anything involving wood!

  5. I actually like cleaning, but having a long haired dog and a cat…arg. I finally gave in and bought a Roomba. I’m actually really frugal and also a crazy person that says things like, “I can reupholster my couch, that’s not a problem.” So it was weird to pay that much for a robot that does things that I should be able to do all of the time. Its pretty amazing, and gets under furniture and into corners and all those hidden pockets of hair/dirt are gone and don’t wander around anymore. I only run it about once a week (cause my dog knows how to turn it off!) but it makes a huge difference with pet hair. I wish Roomba would sponsor pet adoption!

    1. Oohh, now you’re making me rethink my Christmas wish list. Good idea! Funny that your dog knows how to turn it off!