Every year the Farmer asks me if we can get an artificial tree. Every year I tell him that he can get one when I am dead. It's become a traditional conversation.
When I was a kid, the Christmas tree would not go up until late in December. I remember tree hunting in the fields with my dad. People would actually reserve their tree by tying a ribbon around them. So, you would find the perfect tree and then not be able to have it because of some silly ribbon. We never "stole" a tree. I know I was short at the time, but they always seemed so incredibly tall.
I like to have a tree up for most of December and on some years I have cajoled the farmer into going the weekend after Thanksgiving. We have always had a real tree and have learned the hard way that if you want the needles to stay on, you have to cut it down yourself.
This is the tradition that has evolved…
I make everyone get up early on a weekend morning, because I want to get there right as they open. We have a hard time getting out the door because someone cannot find their gloves. We drive out to the farm and are the first or second people there. We pick up the tarp and saw and head into the fields. I cannot even look at prospective trees until we are out of sight of the barn and I really don't want to see other people. I want to pretend that we are the only ones in the woods.
Typically, I have to look at at least eight different trees. Often times, I decide that the first one we found is the best. But, then we cannot find it again, so we have to go look some more. Realizing this, I agreed to the first tree the farmer suggested this year. I thought he was going to faint. Usually, it has either snowed or is muddy as hell and the kid manages to get covered in all of it. This year it was snow.
Once the perfect tree has been chosen, the farmer gets to lie on the tarp and cut it down. I take gratuitous photos of his bum until it is time for me to hold onto the tree so it does not fall on him. The kid insists on helping drag it back to the barn. I love that. I take more pictures. They wrap it up for us and we take it home. We usually buy trees that will fit into the wagon. The one year we had it tied to the roof, it came off on the highway. That was not fun. What was worse was that the farmer gave the kid who tied it on a big tip. On the way home, we stop at a diner for breakfast. It is one of my favorite mornings of the whole year.
The setting up of the tree is a whole different story…..