Thursday, 6 December 2012

Oh Christmas Tree(s)

For the past 'n' years we have consistently put up the same artificial Christmas tree in each of our houses. It has worked well. It looks mostly good, with only a few shortcomings. it is not an electro-neon tree with fibre optic branches or a realistic tree with frost on the branches, pine cones, and to-scale bird nests tucked into the branches. It is a made-in-china plastick-needles on wire branches type of tree, but it looks good.
I like it. From 10 feet out it looks real and it doesn't drop needles.

But it doesn't smell like a real tree, and it doesn't look 100% real, and every now and then I get these romantic notions of a perfect tree in a perfect room, with the scent of pine and the ambiance of a perfect Christmas. I bounced the idea off SWMBO, and soon enough, we were heading out in the Thunderbuggy, headed to a tree farm in search of the perfect Christmas tree.

To be sure we got the perfect tree we formed a committee. Chairing the committee was Mama and I, with support from 2 small boys. The committee was supported by Chuck - the indifferent teen, and AP2, and her friend Louise. Louise and AP2 were mostly mystified by the process. The boys were interested, and Mom and I were tree spotting. Chuck was Chuck.

The rules at the tree farm are pretty simple. Grab a saw and search for the perfect tree. Trees with red tags on them are $40 and intended for suckers, trees without tags are $30 and are intended for intelligent folks like us. Don't step on the seedlings. Any tree is legit, pay before you leave.

It was a rainy day, but there was still a lot of competition for the perfect tree.

Our idea of the perfect tree was equally simple. It had to be perfect. Tall enough that if you stood beside it with your arm up, it was higher than you could reach. Not too wide so it didn't take up the entire living room, not too skinny so it didn't look like a pole.  No holes, no weird growths, green and healthy, perfect.

A number of candidates were considered and rejected. Tree after tree was assessed using the extended arm measuring stick. Tree after tree failed. Staying at the $30 budget point made it difficult to find the perfect tree, but not wanting to be suckers, we persevered. Over hills and down valleys, through the tall grass and mud we searched. AP2 spotted trees, Louise too. Chuck mumbled things about hot guys and vampires. We measured and rejected, considered and reconsidered, and finally narrowed the field down to the 2 best trees.

We stood and considered them. Finally settling on one, and rejecting the other we felt good about finding the perfect tree at the $30 price point. The saw was set to the trunk, and cutting began. James took the first few cuts, then I set the saw and got it going. Chuck had a try, then AP2 and Louise. Finally the tree came down.
As it fell I saw a flash of red in its branches. Was it a cardinal? Someone's boot lace? No, it was a red tag.

We were suckers.

The committee pulled the tree back to the Thunderbuggy and I paid the farmer. We loaded it up on the roof, and headed home. Everyone was sleepy after the exertions of the day.

Our tree is now standing in the living room. It is adorned with lights and ornaments. It still needs tinsel and garlands. The house smells of pine and Christmas. It is wonderful. And for old times' sake we have set up the plastic tree in the basement. We need decorations for it. One house with 2 trees - c'est fantastique!

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