Not exactly like hunting for “Red October”… but equally important. It is… The Hunt for Christmas Tree.
There are people who take the easy way when it comes to selecting a tree, heading to one of the numerous tree lots with pre-slaughtered trees; these trees a mere shell of what they once were. These trees have been cut weeks previous, are dried out and in some occurrences, have been spray-painted. They’ve been hauled in from far-flung tree farms, netted and trussed up like Thanksgiving turkeys. These are not true Christmas trees…. these are abominations!
Christmas Tree Hunts of yore found us trudging through snow, to pile onto a wagon or sleigh pulled by a team of horses and out into the wilds of a domestic tree farm. Domestic? Of course. The hunt for the perfect tree is a very important part of the Christmas tradition. There are important factors to consider: location, height, branch spacing, variety and amount of ornaments.
Braving the elements, we’d hike through the rows of trees, evaluating them, searching for just the perfect specimen to honor us with its presence, bedecked with years worth of ornaments. The Hunt was never complete without… giving my sister a face wash. For the uneducated, a face wash is tackling your friend or relative to the ground, grabbing a handful of snow and rubbing it all over their face. The face-washing didn’t start with me, no, my brother gets credit for that. He began the fun that is the Tree Hunting Face Wash.
Then of course, every successful Hunt was followed with a trip to a bar/restaurant/bowling alley for deep-fried cheese curds, cheeseburgers, chili and other manner of greasy bar food that replenished the tens of calories burned. The consumption of excessive calories was then followed by rousing rounds of bowling, where I performed badly though my score improved measurably after a couple of beers.
We’d return home, setting up the tree in the family room and begin the arduous process of decorating the tree. There may have been a time where I enjoyed decorating the tree, but I have been known to do nothing but prop the greeting cards received amongst its branches.
Today started bright and shining… and cold. Single digit cold, and nary a flake of snow to be seen. Frost, yes. Snow, no. This would prove to be an uncomfortable trek at the local tree farm as we made our way along the evergreens in search of the perfect host for our ornamentation.
Upon arrival at our destination, we made our way to the balsam firs. I’d describe the wind funneling its way through the hollow we were in as bracing… but it was just DAMNED cold. DH and I trekked up into the hollow and then back down again, pointing out trees we felt would be good choices. Our inspection complete (it’s not a big farm), we decided to head back to two trees that we felt were comparable, and conveniently, they were right next to each other.
We made our approach, stalking our prey. We circled it, twice. Viewed them both from all angles and then, DH brought out the saw. We selected our quarry and as I grasped its trunk, DH cut it off at ground level. Proudly we carried our prize back to the truck, made out our check to the gamekeeper, and drove home.
The tree is now standing in the living room, dressed in lights and ornaments, wearing a skirt. Honestly, that makes it sound a bit like a transgender, cross-dressing showgirl…