Oh Christmas Tree

     It’s that time of the year again and Christmas will be here before we know it.  Most people have a variety of traditions and/or rituals they partake in each Christmas Season.  There are annual shopping trips, office parties, the baking of sweets, and then there is the Christmas Tree.

     As a child I remember how wonderful it was to be able to have a real tree inside of our house.  I loved the smell of the pine needles and the sight of nature right in our living room.  I couldn’t wait to go and get our Christmas Tree and I was always jealous of the neighbors across the street who put their tree up on Thanksgiving and didn’t take it down until around Valentine’s Day.

     I grew up in a city and thought everyone went and bought their Christmas Trees from a parking lot or a Nursery.  I didn’t realize there were tree farms and I don’t think my dad owned a saw or axe so we went to the Dairy Queen to get our Christmas Tree.  The Dairy Queen was actually closed that time of the year but the parking lot was filled with trees.  There were rows and rows of all sorts of trees and I loved to run through them and pretend I was in a forest.  I imagine I drove my parents nuts as I yelled across the lot, "How about this one?"  "This ones good."  "I like this big one, can we get it, huh, huh, can we please?" "Why not?"  "I think it will fit inside our house."   I failed to realize the size of our house and our trunk dictated the size of our Christmas Tree.  Every year we would end up with roughly the same size and shape tree so it would fit nicely into the same corner.

     As I got older many things changed and there were disappointments to face.  One of my biggest disappointments was the Christmas when we purchased an artificial Christmas Tree.  I couldn’t believe we bought a fake tree, I thought it was awful.  I didn’t think it was too much work to drive to the DQ and stuff a tree in the trunk.  But with the artificial tree it was so much easier, you didn’t have to water it, there were no pine needles to vacuum up, and it was always the perfect size and shape.    

   I have my own house and family now and I get to decide what type of Christmas Tree we will have each year.  I could buy one at the Holiday Gas Station parking lot or get one from a local Nursery, but my favorite thing to do is go out into the woods and find one for myself.  Our lodge has a vaulted ceiling so I can get a really tall tree or a really bushy tree, as long as it can fit through the double doors on the deck it’s fine.  I search and search for the perfect tree.

     If you were to look at photos of past Christmas’s and my trees then you probably wouldn’t describe them with the word perfect.  You see I can’t justify cutting down a beautiful, healthy and fully alive tree so I can enjoy it for a few weeks.  I would much prefer to leave it outside, planted firmly in the earth where I can enjoy it year after year.  My perfect Christmas Tree is the little scrubby one underneath those two beautiful trees that won’t ever survive because it doesn’t have room to grow.  My perfect tree may only have branches and needles on one side of the tree, but that’s OK, because the other side will go against the wall anyway.       

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    This year my Christmas Tree looks a little bit different.  It actually looks like a healthy, beautiful, tall Christmas Tree, because it was.  There were lots of these trees underneath the power lines until Arrowhead Electric came through about a month ago to do some clearing.  I personally wouldn’t call it clearing, I would call it destroying.   After their huge machines came through there was barely anything left.   There were hundreds of high quality trees that could have been used or perhaps logged.  I walked on a couple of the paths of destruction and found a tree that I could salvage.  I dragged that tree behind me for a long ways because I was so upset about all of the other chopped up trees laying on the ground all around me.   Even though the tree was a little dry and one side of the tree was a little bit flat it was till perfect.  Perfect in my sense of the word and perfect enough to be my Christmas Tree.