The Wood family has an annual Christmas tradition – we pack ourselves up, drive out into the county to the Christmas tree farm, wander around for the longest time while stopping at too many trees and asking “How about this one?” until we (in desperation) select our annual victim, then cut it down and drag it home on the top of our van. (I left out the part where the kids complain about how cold it is because it puts a damper on my memories.)
That’s what we do most years. There was that one year when we just bought a tree at Home Depot. I think it had been cut down some time in July and kept in storage, only to be brought out at Christmas and foisted on this unsuspecting person who believed the little sign that read “fresh trees.” By the end of that Christmas season we were adding Rogaine to the water in hopes that the tree wouldn’t shed any more. And then there was last year, too. We were living with Grandma, and she has an artificial tree. It even comes out of the box with the lights already on it. Lame.
So this year it was time to resurrect our tradition and slay another tree. We selected a farm somewhat near our house, and set off on our family adventure – only by the time we got there it was raining. And the trees – though they were beautiful – were priced at about twice what I was used to paying. There are some times when a man must take a stand and refuse to overpay – and this was one of those times. So we aborted our attempt.
The next day we tried a different farm – about 30 miles in the opposite direction. And we found trees for half the price – yes! – but that was basically because you only got about half a tree. After marching around their fields and deciding that neither tree (selection was very limited) was going to work, we settled on buying one that was pre-cut. Pre-cut? Sheesh. But it was $20 less than the previous day’s version. (The good news was it was no longer raining. The bad news? It was now snowing and blowing and freezing.)
With our tree on the roof (alas, slain by another man’s saw) we headed home. But the story wasn’t over – when we got home I discovered my usual tree stand was not going to work – unless I further decimated a tree that was already dangerously thin in some spots. I considered my options. I could build my own stand – or buy a new one. I opted for the latter, finding one that could work – but only if I nailed it to the floor. Seriously, it’s nailed to the floor.
My tree is up – and it looks good. And it’s not falling over – not now, not ever.
- Buying a tree on the 2nd day – a savings of $20.
- Driving an extra 60 miles round trip the 2nd day to find a tree – a gas cost of about $9.
- Buying a new stand for the tree – another $9.
- Total saved by refusing to overpay on that first day- $2.
Keeping the tradition alive? Priceless.