It’s that time of year. Christmas has snuck up on us once again. The pressure to get a tree is Intense. T’was two days before Christmas Eve and time to get a tree. On the farm we go in search of wild trees partly because it is nostalgic, partly because I am cheap. The forest is full of trees, why spend big bucks just to get a perfect one?
Getting a wild tree is stressful especially if it is a hunt by committee. Committee hunting always includes at least one person who is searching for the perfect tree. A perfect tree is symmetrical, thick with branches, evenly distributed in the round. A “You know it when you see it. An HALLELUJAH tree .”
Wild trees are not perfect for a reason. They have not been pruned, pampered and groomed for ten or more years as part of a cash crop deal. They are by nature ugly. It’s probably nature’s way of protecting them from premature harvest by Christmas tree seekers.
Here is my strategy for a successful wild Christmas tree hunt. (Bear in mind I am ultimately responsible for getting the job done because it involves a team of horses and a sled). Wait until the last possible hour to set your plan in motion. That would be approximately 3:15 pm on December 23. It’s takes about twenty minutes to get the horses in the barn and harnessed. That puts you at about 3:40 for hitch to the sled time. Add an additional 5 minutes to find the saw. By this time the approaching dusk is almost noticeable. Load the committee on the sleigh and head out to the woods.
Upon approaching the harvest zone alert everyone to be watching for the perfect tree. The longer the shadows the better. To get things started, say “hey, that looks like a good one” making sure it is a really ugly one. Expect moans and groans. Continue the search, knowing full well the temperature is dropping with the setting sun. Test the mood by pointing at another. If things are on track, they will ask you to stop the horses for a closer look. No, too skinny, too crooked, too few branches. Not too worry, it needs to be a little darker, body parts number.
As the moment of truth nears, individual committee members will begin pointing out candidates. Trees will be rejected, scrutinized by the committee. Remain silent until the right moment. Sooner or later someone will exclaim “That looks like a good one!”. Without hesitation, jump in with “Wow! That is a beautiful one!” even while straining to see it in the diminishing darkness. Quickly toss the lines to the identifier(to keep them occupied while you grab the saw and cut the chosen one off at the stump). Add a little ” boy that is a nice tree” as you toss it in the back. It doesn’t hurt to remind the committee how cold it is getting as you swing the team towards home. Chuckling them into a trot increases the wind chill factor. There is nothing like a shared suffering to cement an agreement on the fact that “we” found the perfect tree.
If properly executed, the plan will carry through the setting up and decorating process. Once decorated and brightly lit, an otherwise “ugly” tree becomes a special tree.
Christmas is about shared memories and love. What’s more special than bringing a less than perfect tree into your home and making it the most special tree in the forest? Christmas is about accepting people and things for what they are. The end justifies the means right?
Merry Christmas 2013