Tree Decorating 2014

All those who have ever seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, raise your hand. (everyone raises hand). Okay, so, remember the scene where they go to get a Christmas tree? Walt Griswald takes his family tramping through the snow and cold for hours, finally finds the “perfect” tree (which is enormous), realize they forgot the saw and have to dig it up by the roots, and then drive it home strapped to the roof of a vehicle half the length of the tree. Well, minus the forgetting-the-saw part, that is essentially how we got our tree every year when I was growing up.

My parents would load us into our little Toyota pickup truck and drive us to the tree farm. There by the parking lot was a small red shack that served as the “office” and rows of perfectly-shaped five to eight foot Christmas trees, pre-cut and ready to go. We never so much as glanced at those trees.

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Dressed in winter coats, hats, boots and gloves, we’d go trudging through the mud (occasionally snow) looking for the “perfect” tree. After an hour or so, we’d finally stumble upon some fifteen- to twenty-foot fir that was deemed ideal. Then I’d stand nearby, shivering, as my brother begged to be allowed to saw down the tree with my dad’s help and my mom tried to ensure it wasn’t going to fall on anyone’s head. Then we’d all get the intense pleasure of being smacked in the face by wet branches and coated head-to-toe with sap as we drug the tree a mile back to the office and car. More shivering as we waited for my parents to buy the tree, figure out how to load it onto the truck (which was always a good four- to six- feet shorter than the tree) and secure it.

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By the time we got home, it had been three or four hours, everyone was cold and tired, and tempers were getting short. My parents would then cut off the top and bottom of the tree, keeping the best twelve feet or so of the middle which they then had to figure out how to wedge into our living room. Let me assure you, we had a very large living room, and these trees inevitably took up at least a quarter of it. My brother and I would sit by quietly, listening to our parents argue over the best way to get the tree in to the stand and secure it to the rafters to keep it from falling over, and wondering whether they knew it was past dinnertime and our stomachs were growling. In retrospect, our parents were probably feeling a bit hangry by that point as well.

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So, after years of that experience, is it any wonder I now choose to order a tree from a company online? They bring me a fresh cut, locally grown six foot tree, nicely shaped, and deliver it straight to my front door. I’ve even had them put it in the stand for me. It’s amazing. I definitely find myself much more in the holiday spirit and excited about decorating the tree this way. No more Christmas tree U-cut experience for this girl!

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