Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Great Christmas Tree Hunt

Last Saturday, my family and I ventured to the land from whence Christmas trees come.  No, not the parking lot where the local Kiwanis club is selling pre-cut trees.  Nope, we went to the great Northern wilderness that those in the know call the Poconos. 
We’ve been going to the Poconos to get our trees for years, only missing a few years when, yes, we went to the parking lot where the local Kiwanis club was selling pre-cut trees.  When I was little, my family joined a bunch of other family friends to make the trek from suburban Philadelphia to Hill’s Tree Farm in Jim Thorpe to find the perfect Christmas tree.  I’m not so little anymore but “going to the mountains” to chop down our tree is still one of our most important family traditions. 
Now, I use the term “chop down” loosely.  Although there is an option to use your own saw, we never actually chopped down our own trees – we let the workers with chain saws do that.  Chopping trees down is a hard business!  I should know.  Two years ago, I had to saw off a few low hanging branches of my tree and it took me five hours.  Granted, all I had was a drywall saw…but still – a girl can break a sweat doing that kind of work! 
When we go for Christmas trees, there are a few things that never get old…no matter how old we get.  First – as you drive into the tree farm and are still on the outermost perimeter of the acres and acres of trees, it is a given that someone will say – “That’s the tree I want!  Right there!”  Which is always hysterical because like we’re really going to walk the 19 miles from the parking lot back to that tree.  But we say it every year…it’s tradition, after all.
Every year, my dad always makes the same joke as we’re walking around the field trying to find our trees – now three trees for the three households in our family.  When we’re calling to one another to say, hey, I found a tree, where are you?  My dad will pipe up and give this helpful answer – I’m by the green tree!  He said that 427 times last Saturday.  And it never got old…for him.    
Also, every year, we can never quite remember what kind of tree that we get – it’s as if we’ve never gone Christmas tree hunting before.  Do we get a Douglas fir?  Or do we get a Fraser fir?  And oh my gosh, how tall of a tree can we actually get?  My height factor is problematic for two reasons – one, I’ve got low ceilings; and two, any tree that I get has to fit inside the Silver Bullet to make the trip back to Maryland.  For the record, a 7 foot Douglas fir fits quite nicely in a Honda Civic.  Getting it out is another story altogether…
This year, the story of the trees that my brother and I chose to bring home for Christmas was rather special.  We picked trees that happened to be standing side by side.  I said that they mirrored our relationship.  They were planted together, they grew up together, they got chopped down, and one moved to Maryland.  Our life-story brought to you by a couple of evergreens.  Sweet, right?
A lot has changed over the years as we’ve carried on our tradition.  We’ve seen tiny trees grow into great big Christmas-tree worthy trees.  We used to walk from field to field but now there’s a cute little trolley that will take you to the field of your choice (I’m not that lazy, I still walk!)  And we no longer go with those other families; but sometimes if we’re lucky, like this year, we’ll run into one or two of them and they’re doing the same thing we are – carrying on a family tradition and trying to find the most perfect Christmas tree ever.  Just like every year before. 
7 feet of evergreen wonderfulness
Join me tomorrow for a virtual tree-trimming party!  But bring your own eggnog. 

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