Sunday, December 14, 2008

O Christmas Tree

This year I have, for the VERY first time, a real, live Christmas tree. I know. It's shocking. My whole life, despite growing up in a house that was beautifully decorated, top to bottom, I've only ever had fake trees. My husband, who grew up with the whole bundle-up-drive-to-the-woods-cut-down-your-own Christmas tree experience has mentioned getting one each year we've been married, but I've always had a reason not to. They're messy. They're inconvenient. They're expensive (we already have a fake one just waiting to be put up, and it won't cost us anything...).

Finally, this year, we decided it was time. We were ready to take the plunge. We only had two criteria. (1.) It had to be a tall, beautiful tree. I had no doubt that I would see it and know, immediatly, that is was the "perfect" tree. (2.) It could not come from a depressing, corporate Christmas tree lot. We wanted to see it in all it's natural habitat before we made our choice, not all wrapped up and leaning against the wall at the local Flowerama. Plus, for Nate it was all about the experience. He wanted me to know, firsthand, what his family had done each year, in the hopes that cutting down the tree could also become a family tradition for us (plus, this was a chance for him to use his saw, which spends most of it's year gathering dust in our garage).

No big deal, right?

So on a frigid Saturday, we bundled up, loaded the dog in our car (after all, this was a family outing!) and headed to a local tree farm. We pulled up, and it was everything I had hoped it would be. There was snow on the ground, there were wreaths and swags and families and an overall air of "Christmasness." We were greeted, given a cup of hot cocoa, and directions out to the field where we could cut down our tree. As we zipped up our coats to head out to the field, the woman who had greeted us casually said, "And all our trees that are available to be cut are six feet tall and under."


My husband and I are both extremely tall. We have nine foot ceilings in our house. I had a vision of Nate reaching down instead of up to put the star on the tree, and all my real-live Christmas tree visions came to a screeching halt. I absolutely refused to go home with a tiny, puny, Charlie Brown-style Christmas tree. My tree needed to touch the ceiling. Six feet and under would not do.

We proceeded to thank her for the hot chocolate and return to the car. We got on our cell phones and called the friends we knew who always had a real tree. Where could we get a good one? Where there any other tree farms in the area? Where else could we go? Sadly, the response was either "We got one at a tree farm an hour away," (we had not given ourselves enough time for a road trip) or, "We got ours at Menards," (Nate didn't think they'd want him cutting anything down with his saw at Menards).

We drove aimlessly around town for awhile. We seriously considered going home and putting up the fake tree. We were both seriously bummed out.

Finally, we decided we'd break our rule and stop at a local nursery where they had trees. Although they were pre-cut, it wasn't quite as depressing as buying a tree at Menards. So we drove there, climbed out of the car, zipped up our coats again, and went in search of our perfect tree.

Again, not so easy.

The trees were all wrapped up, so you couldn't really tell what they looked like. They cost a fortune. The guy that was working there was kind of grumpy, which detracted from the whole experience. And, none of them were very tall. More disappointment.

Heading back to the car, we debated going home again. But I would not give up. Despite my strong feelings about tree lots, I suggested that we swallow our fear and head to Home Depot. After a moment or two of deliberation, Nate agreed.

We were there a total of thirty seconds when we walked around around a corner and stopped in our tracks. There it was! The perfect tree!! It was standing right in front of us, and the minute we saw it, we both knew it was the one. It was beautiful. It was perfect. It was actually nine and a HALF feet tall, so we had to have the guy cut some of it off so we could fit it in our house. We paid for it, loaded it up, and headed home. Despite the fact that we didn't get to cut it down ourselves, we were thrilled.

We got it home, and spent the rest of the afternoon decorating it. My family room was covered with pine needles. A giant dead bug fell out of the tree while we were putting the lights on. My hands were covered with sap from the branches. But when we were done, I stepped back and decided that it was the prettiest tree I'd ever seen. It couldn't even compare with the fake tree I'd gotten so used to. Mess or no mess, I don't think I'll ever have another fake tree.

I think we've started a new tradition after all. Next year we'll just have to start at Home Depot first :)


Shelene said...

You're right, that is one beautiful tree! What an experience!!! At least it was worth it in the end. :)

Janel said...

I would say it was worth the hassle! The hassle sometimes is what makes the experience. What a fun "adventurous" tradition to start with your family! I am sure Jake was glad he was not left out of the tradtion! :)

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