Kickass, the doorstop dog, observes that if dogs sometimes have strong feelings about trees, it is nothing compared to the emotional upheaval now occurring as people deal with Christmas trees. The Christmas tree has to be just right, as the keeper learned many years ago when he spent a journalistic day working in a tree lot. In his—the keeper’s history there was the occasion of once using a 15-gallon crock as a rock-and-water-filled Christmas tree stand and then arising on Christmas morning to find the tree tipped over in an incredible mess of sodden carpet strewn with boulders, tinsel, Christmas tree balls and wet presents. Another year, there was a real bird nest tucked in next to the Christmas tree’s trunk, giving it a more meaningful tree identity than that used by dogs or people. Everyone has tree stories, and there will be another one this year as Phyllis trims her beautiful silver “Arizona” tree, while the keeper remembers the Christmas when as if by some mysterious signal, every last needle on a very expensive spruce fell off several days before Christmas. It was the year of opening presents under the Christmas brush pile.