When it comes to Christmas trees our family has done it all, from artificial to real to chopping our own to buying off the neighborhood lot. A few years ago the tree we purchased from a nearby lot started dropping its needles within days after we got it home and decorated it. I'm talking not just a needle here and a needle there but a carpet of dark green blanketing our off-white carpet on a daily basis. When I returned to the vendor to complain, I was told I could bring the tree back and exchange it for another, but really, who is going to undecorate a tree and drag it back to the lot only to get another one that may be just as dry? We managed as best we could and took the tree down shortly after Christmas.
After that experience I vowed never to make the same mistake again. So last year for the first time we visited a nearby tree farm and chopped down our own tree. It turned out to be a fun family adventure in spite of the frigid weather and the fact that the tree was so covered in ice and snow that we had to wait a day for its winter coat to melt off before we could decorate it. The tree farm we visited also has a small zoo, a country store with homemade and canned foodstuffs for sale as well as several resident cats and parrots to entertain the clientele, and complimentary popcorn and hot chocolate after tree shopping and chopping.
So this year we returned for a repeat of last year's successful tree-chopping outing. Only this year there were several unexpected variables: after several days of rain and melting snow and sleet, the tree farm had become a veritable mud pit. When we expressed an interest in chopping down our own tree the saleswoman's face fell and she asked "Are you sure you want to go out there?" Shen then pointed us to several trees that had already been chopped down and were awaiting buyers. Not only that, due to the lateness of the tree shopping season, they had been marked down in price. Well, that's about all the convincing this stressed out, exhausted Mom & Pop needed. The children were agreeable, so we picked a nice Balsam fir from the line-up and brought it home. The saleswoman assured us it would last until Epiphany, and since she was representing a local business and not one of those temporary tree lots that disappear once the tree-selling season is over, I felt fairly comfortable taking her at her word.
Here's the finished product. It's one of the tallest, fattest trees we've ever had (and there are a few brand new scratches on the ceiling to attest to that fact)! So far, the needles are holding pretty well.
Now it just needs some presents! Time to get wrapping.