The Poinsettia That Lived

Buy me. 


Take me home.

Who said that?  You sound a lot like Mr. Darcy.
You can take care of me.

Oh, no I can't.  I can barely take care of my husband.  Sometimes, I forget we live together and make dinner just for me. It's kinda embarrassing.

I'll make your house look festive and beautiful, plus I'll purify the air. 

W-ell, that sounds nice.  I guess it would be a good idea to decorate for Christmas.  Very Martha Stewart of me. 

It was Christmas 2000.  I was married, barely.  No kids. No dog.  No responsibilities.  It was just like college.  Except for the cat.  I had to feed her.  And the husband. I had to feed him, too. 
I was in produce when I heard the call.  Over the apples and across the store I saw it.  Its leaves were a deep, Christmas green.  Rudolph's nose could not have been redder than those beautiful blooms. 

It was THE yuletide plant.  Churches were filled with their satiny white and red flowers.  Homes across our great nation had at least one, possibly more adorning doorsteps, mantels, tables, and fireplaces.

The problem...I am not a friend to plants.  Some would say I am their mortal enemy. 

Hush...the poinsettia whispered to can do this.

"Yes!  Yes I can!"  I announce to produce.

"Uh, ma'am?  Can I help you?"

Stupid helpful, produce boy.  Must you call me ma'am?

So I buy that beautiful poinsettia, bring it home and ceremoniously place it on our hearth (fancy Christmastime word for fireplace).  The plant soon inspires me to decorate everywhere in red, green and twinkling lights.  My house had never looked so festive.

Thank you, poinsettia.

You're welcome.

Before I knew it, we had opened our presents, shared a wonderful meal and rung in the New Year.  Another Christmas was behind us.  Time to put the decorations away.  I placed my meager collection of ornaments, lights, and holly into a box when I reached for the poinsettia.

What are you doing?

 Uh, Christmas is, I'm, uh, you know...putting away the decorations.  And,'re a decoration ya go!

I'm a plant.  A LIVING plant.  Look!  I have beautiful new blooms coming up on this side.
Interesting.  Stupid produce boy did not say anything about what to do with the poinsettia AFTER Christmas. Doesn't holiday cheer or something like that keep it alive?  It must, because I feel pretty confident that I haven't watered the plant yet.  Do I keep it?

Yes, you idiot...I mean, please do, if you'd be so kind, miss.

Oh now.  Miss is totally acceptable to call a woman in her late 20's.  I love poinsettias. Especially when they sound like Mr. Darcy.  They are so great!

So I decide to keep my handsome poinsettia and ceremoniously place it back on my hearth (fancy Mark Darcy sounding word for fireplace).  And I even give it a drink of water.

Christmas 2001.  I play our one Christmas CD, get out the box of decorations and begin the joyful process of transforming our ordinary home into a winter wonderland (but inside, and with heat).


I didn't remember poinsettia sounding so much like a snippy Alan Rickman.
Well, hello, poinsettia.  It's your time to shine.  Let's dust you off.  I really can't believe you made it a whole year.

Me either as you watered me no more than 2 or 3 times.  I think the most moisture I got was when the damned dog peed on me. 

That is surprising.  Sorry about the dog - he's new.  But please watch your's Christmas.

Against all odds, my little poinsettia survived that Christmas, Christmas 2002, a move across the country in 2003, Christmas 2003, and a move back across the country in 2004.  I must admit that over time it did loose a bit of its luster.  The beautiful green foliage turned mostly a dull brown...and then fell off.  The red blooms wilted...and also fell off.  In the end its only resemblance to an actual poinsettia was the shiny green cellophane tied onto the planter with a gold ribbon.

Sadly, my poinsettia never made it to Christmas 2004.  Some have suggested it was because I never re-potted it - whatever that is.  Others have pointed out that watering might have made a difference.  But we live in a dry climate.  A few have pointed out that it was strange that my poinsettia talked to me in the first place.  Whatever.  

But here's the thing...I kept a plant alive for four years!!!  For me, that is a badge of honor I wear proudly to this day.  And then, a few short years ago I was at the grocery store, yet again.  It was Christmas.

Buy me.

Oh, crap.  This one sounds like Daniel Craig.  Not again.
I can see the new poinsettia beckoning to me.  This is awkward.  But I just smile and keep on walking.  Because this year, at Target, I made the most amazing discovery!  Fake plants!  I bought a non-alive poinsettia.  But it looks totally real.  And the very helpful sales woman, who was in her 60's and called me young girl (LOVED her), said that it won't ever lose its leaves or blooms and I don't have to water it, or do anything with dirt, or talk to it.  And after we ring in the New Year, I get to pack it away with all the other decorations.

Merry Christmas!!



  1. I had (notice, I said "had") a poinsettia too for about 4 yrs... I would leave it on top of my cabinets in my kitchen (my ceilings are high). People told me that it likes the heat, and heat rises, so there it sat. Some years it would bloom, others it would not, but I didn't want to part w/ it. And then.... it just died... :( So sad... I miss that plant... (giggle, giggle)
    Fake plants work for me too! ;)
    Love your writing; you are TOO funny!!!

  2. Love your writing Melissa! I think at this point you could write absolutely anything, and I would totally believe you. Like right now, I truly believe that plant talked to you! I do! If a plant ever talks to me, I will definitely buy it too!

  3. Lord help me if I ever come across a poinsetta that sounds like Edward Cullen. I may hump it in the store.
    PS: Hilarious post! Sorry I had to one up you with the Edward Cullen stupid remark, I sometimes can't help myself.

  4. I'm so with you, I have a total love-hate relationship with any kind of plant life. I am really impressed with your four year fling. That is absolutely a high achievement in need of a badge of honor, with some bling embellishments. I like your strategy, hold the title, don't press your luck with it happening again. I would take the safe route too! Non-alive sounds so much more prestigious than fake!!


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