I know that someday you'll find better things.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

O Christmas Tree

So, we'd go over the river and through the woods.
Let me assure you, there was very little (if any) "laughing all the way".

As a child, going out to the tree farm to hunt for the perfect tree (and if you know my mother, there are tight parameters on "perfect" when it comes to Christmas trees) was part of the New England holiday tradition.

We'd bundle up, drive forever, and tromp around in sub-freezing temperatures inspecting every tree from every hill, valley, and plateau. Was it the tall enough? Was it conservatively narrow? Were the branches evenly distributed? Were the needles satisfactorily dense? Was it the right shade of green?

Is this one more proportionate than the one we saw ten minutes ago? Maybe we should compare them. Where was that one again?

Tromp, tromp, tromp.

Hours later when a decision had been made, my father would hack it down with an ax. Then we'd drag the thing to the wrap-it-up barn where they'd send it through the machine that would compress it, and it would emerge, swirled with twine and ready to be strapped to the top of our car.

Once home, there was the ceremonial wrangling it through the doorway and weaving it through the rooms before we could even get to the stringing of the lights, hanging of the ornaments, and frosting of the branch tips with the soap-flake paste.

From that point on, it was non-stop maintenance-- watering it, cleaning up the shedding needles, and the biggest job of all: corralling the cat.

I don't think my dad really enjoyed the tree-trek, either, because I have a memory of him starting a personal-sized tree farm at my childhood home in East Putnam. We moved when the blasted things were oh, two feet tall. Maybe less.

There's a second even more elusive memory of him starting a personal-sized tree farm at the new house. I'm not sure if anyone else remembers. I'm not sure anyone--even he, maybe especially he-- even remembers where he planted them, if indeed this happened at all.

Tromp, tromp, tromp.


It should not surprise you that my first holiday purchase as an independent adult was a fake tree, much to my mother's horror.

It was tall enough, conservatively narrow, evenly distributed, satisfactorily dense, and precisely green from base-to-tip. 

The very best part? It was pre-lit.

I probably would have gone faux anyway, but the decision was practically determined for me due to location, location, location.

Live trees didn't seem like a viable option as fir forests are something of a rarity in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

So, each year, I'd cheerfully dig out the old falsie, stack the three levels, locate and attach the plugs, and then fluff, fluff, fluff for that pseudo-realistic touch.

I have to tell you, my Christmas tree enthusiasm each year is a little less cheerful than the year before. Those fake trees still shed, and by the time I get done with the fluffing phase, my arms and face look like I've battled ten wet cats.

It's possibly my least-favorite task of the holiday season. I've started trying to not think about Christmas until Thanksgiving, but a pre-Halloween trip to the pumpkin patch this year thwarted my plan.

I overheard a conversation about how a local pumpkin patch is also a tree farm after Thanksgiving. I remember looking around in surprise. There were no trees in the field. How could this be?

Apparently they bring them in and line them up in rows.

I never went back to confirm this. It was just too mind-boggling. Were the trees already compressed in twine? How would you even know what you were getting until you got home and popped it open?

What if it was lopsided?
What if it was unevenly distributed or unsatisfactorily dense?

I may be sick and tired of the fake trees, but I don't think I could handle a surprise tree.

Worse still, while on our way to our New Year's Eve dinner reservation, I saw at least two roadside tents with giant signs announcing


The situation was puzzling and wasteful, and the stack of unchosen trees was just heartbreaking.

I had to look away.

The following day it was finally time to take down our two Christmas trees, and fortunately I remembered to wear long sleeves to minimize the scratches. It was still a pain, though, and still a mess.

Surely there must be a better way.
Amazon, ho!

I located the perfect replacement tree and ordered it without consulting Russ-- in this case, a justified impulse purchase.

It arrived!

Wait until you see the pictures before you pass judgment.

This box is about 24" x 24" x 6"

Not just pre-lit. Pre-ornamented, too!

Here's the stand and 1/2 the pole.

Next, you just slide it on like a big wreath.

Then, you put on the second pole, yank it up, and plug it in. POOF.

Purple and silver was not my first choice, but clearance-tree buyers cannot be picky.

The kids decided it looked better in the front room.

It takes less than sixty seconds to disassemble this thing.

If my mother hated our other trees, she is going to loathe this one! I, on the other hand, am thrilled.

As far as I'm concerned, it's a Christmas miracle.

1 comment:

  1. Another benefits is that you never have to worry about it catching on fire either! Double plus! I'm from Minnesota and that was the reason why we didn't have a real tree. I know my dad didn't mind either! Haha

    P.S. The purple and silver are awesome! My two favorite colors! :)