For years we've had a fake Christmas tree. We tried twice to have a real one but it's just never worked for us. This entails two stories of getting stuck in snow, throwing up, and a lost gun. We'll tell that story another day. (it wasn't our gun)
We had a wood stove for years so we bought a fake tree on sale years ago. Last year, a few lights went out and I just decorated around them. This year, most of the lights were out. I was prepared to just buy lights and throw them on there but Kevin had been making noise about having a real tree. After about 30 minutes of debate we went to buy one. Because that's how we roll: no planning, no prep. Just GO. When we left, we were still undecided so we took the 4Runner. (remember this for later)
We were on a time crunch because Kevin had plans and we both hate shopping. We stopped at Fred Meyers to look at both fake and real trees. Fake trees were either cheap but small (only 4 foot tall. They made me sad.) or big and super expensive. There was no mid-range trees available.
So we looked at the real trees and were unimpressed. We found ourselves standing in the middle of the section trying to figure out what to do and why this was so difficult to accomplish.
Our options were: go to Wally World for a cheap, fake tree. This was not actually an option but an item to be checked of the list. Or to buy an expensive fake tree there, when we knew we could get one less expensive elsewhere. If we bought a real tree we would need a stand and lights so we had to figure out the math of what is the best purchase.
Off we went to the local farmers market that sells real trees.
I really want to do this again because it felt like walking into a Hallmark movie: Christmas tree smell, Christmas music playing, people wearing warm clothing and holiday hats.
Two random references: the trees are hung by twine from the ceiling so it was like a packing house for trees. Also, I remembered the Friends episode where Phoebe was morally against Christmas trees and Chandler explained how the trees life purpose was to be a Christmas tree.
There were so many trees that it was like a corn maze walking through. Because they're hung, they spin when you brush past them. adding to the disorientation. Randy was still wearing his safety gear hoodie from work so he was easy to spot. But all the trees were taller than me so I was easily lost.
The owner explained the two different kinds of trees so we would know more accurately what we needed. I think it was a Noble Fir, but I can't swear to it. One lasts and one doesn't. The other difference is cosmetic.
We were wandering around and admiring trees when Kevin wondered aloud about getting a taller tree. This surprised me a little because he's always been ambivalent about it. He hesitated and I mentioned that for seven more dollars, or two mochas, he could have a taller tree. Why wouldn't we?
Then there were short jokes. As in "Then you can't reach the top" followed by my response "Then you'll have to help" then "I guess we're having a half-naked tree".
There was more qualities to consider than I thought. You don't want a spindly weird top, you don't want an apple-bottomed, odd shaped tree. The branches can't be too dense so decorations won't hang properly. There can't be multiple weird gaps that can't be hidden by placing them toward the wall.
After about ten minutes, we chose a tree. We kept gravitating back to it and finally just committed. The girl helper laughed that we likened it to dating, we kept being attracted to that specific tree.
Now, here's where the 4Runner comes into play. 4Runner...no truck bed. It has a luggage rack but we didn't bring tie-downs. Also, we had to travel on the freeway which would effectively make the tree into a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
Here's where choosing a taller tree could have been a bad idea. Luckily for all involved, it fit inside. The helper guy was pretty confident it would fit. As 4Runners are common where we live, we believed him. Even if it did mean having the stump between the two of us on the way home. (we didn't get any pitch on anything either. It's a Christmas Miracle!) And needles everywhere! It's okay, the truck will smell good for a while.
We got it home in one piece, had it set up quite quickly, then Kevin went off to play with his friends. Kind of a painless adventure, actually.
I decorated it while Kevin was gone and finished it through the course of the next day. I still have too many ornaments, even with the bigger tree. Must.Stop.Buying.Them. (futile statement, really)
The puppy is interested in the tree but I'm not too worried about her bothering it. I think worse case she drinks from the base or knocks an ornament down while we're gone. Missy used to do that with her tail, while I think Lucy would do it because Shiny Toy That Must Be Played With. We'll see.
I guess we're Real Christmas Tree people now. I think that's a good thing. We'll revisit that in January though.