The Five Posts of Christmas, Number 2

Will Santa leave presents if our
tree gets tossed before Christmas?

We have a tradition.  Every year, we drag three frozen snot-nosed, crying children in negative degree weather to find our perfect Christmas tree.  We gather around the tree, take a picture of it in its natural habitat, chop it down, sing a carol, then drag the bawling kids and the tree out of the forest and go home.

I should really stop saying we "chopped" a tree down because in reality what you do is kinda saw at it.  Which takes all of 2 to 5 minutes as there is nothing Paul Bunyan-like about practically pulling your Christmas tree out of the earth like a weed.  These trees are not full.  In fact, you see more trunk than branches. 

But it's tradition, damn it.  And I like it. 

This year....we DROVE to a local garden store and BOUGHT a tree.  A tall, beautiful, full tree.  My husband was in love and content.  No crying, frost-bitten, hungry kids to worry about.  No skimpy, light-challenged tree to put up.  Once decorated, it looked like the tree straight out of Clara's crazy Nutcracker Prince dream.

Since the beauty went up, Max* just stares at it in wonder.  His eyes literally light up if he just happens to glance at it.  Is it pathetic to say the tree makes me jealous?  What's wrong with our mountain tree?  It might not be the prettiest tree ever, but it has wonderful family memories that come with it.  Warm memories with the following highlights:
  • The year I was pregnant and Max had to carry the crying baby and the tree out of the forest.
  • The year I got the stomach flu AFTER we had hiked a mile to find our tree.  I crawled back to the car while Max carried the two crying babies and the tree out of the forest.
  • The other year I was pregnant and Max had to carry two crying babies and the tree out of the forest.
  • The year we drove around for three hours looking for the group of other tree cutting revelers we were supposed to meet.  We all cried that year.
  • And last year, after we found our tree, the sled strings broke so Max had to hold and push three crying babies while I carried the tree out of the forest.
You see?  These are the kind of touching, heart-warming memories I think about with our home grown, mountain trees.  You really can't buy these kind of family bonding traditions with an imported tree.

I will admit that I have allowed myself to enjoy the fullness of our tree this year.  It is refreshing that the branches can hold their own against the weight of the ornaments.  I even began to let go of my favorite holiday tradition of dragging things out of the forest in favor of delightful family trips to the garden store every year. 

Until last week.  I noticed something odd.  The tree looked, well, a little peaked.  I looked closer and noticed that its once soft, green needles were hard, crunchy and brown.  On the floor, dozens upon dozens of needles lay in their final resting place. 

Our iconic Christmas tree was dead.  Is dead.  It's now a week later, and it continues to be dead.  I can actually hear my no-heat LED lights sizzling as they lay on the crumbling branches.

Christmas morning is four whole days away.   I'm tempted to take down the tree tonight and tell the kids that the Elf on the Shelf did it.  They might believe it.  No they won't.  So, I will keep the tree up until 12:01 AM on December 26.

And next year (triumphant bugle sound) tradition returns!!

*names have again been changed to protect the identity of my husband, but this time because he won't admit that his tree is actually dead

And tomorrow...
The Best Christmas Present Ever



  1. I'm just curious... did you water the tree!?! We've always bought our trees. For all the reasons above that you love your family tradition of cutting down the tree, Those are the same reasons we buy ours every year. I do love traditions though, and I think you should stick to yours!

  2. I love how I laugh out loud every time I read your blog!! Ah, poor Max, well at least he got one year, but deep down I bet he misses the tradition too. Maybe not, but he will be thankful one day for the stories he can tell, or read about!! If you find yourself not being able to trek through the forest next year, you are always welcome to come on over and take your pick from our backyard. Works for us!!!!!

  3. I also wrote this year about "hunting" your own tree. Something I've missed entirely since moving to Utah. And our tree is also completely dried out and dead this year! I'm trying to decide if we can open presents, strip the ornaments and lights, and toss out the tree all on Christmas morning before flying to family for 10 days. Don't really want to sweep up an entire trees' worth of needles when we get home.

  4. Oh, so funny!!!!! That's how it goes. AND.... that's why Mountain people go buy their trees and those silly city people go "hunting" for them :). LOVE it!

  5. Hey now.... we're "hunters" too... and we LOVE it! Even my 16 yr old daughter... (that's saying A LOT!) So sorry about your tree... I don't like when those needles are everywhere, and they get under the floor boards... hard to vacuum! It DOES get easier as they get older; I know by experience only. haha!


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