The Slaying of the Annual Christmas Tree

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.


54 Responses

  1. Our Christmas tree is up and looking beautiful. Hope you’re liking yours as well. Merry Christmas!

  2. That’s awesome. The tree skirt hides the nails well. Your tree looks great – you may have only saved $2, but your pride is intact. And that is priceless!

  3. Funny, funny post!

  4. This reminded me of the Griswolds’ Family Vacation 🙂

    Hopefully you won’t find wildlife in yours…

  5. We always make sure to slay our tree well. Never let another person do your own work. Besides, the feeling of decorating a Christmas tree slain by you is completely different from slaying a tree not slain by you.
    We once bought a tree from Home Depot too. The next day, I had a huge bump on my very blonde head. I had to change my hairstyle for a few days to cover it up.

  6. slaying of the annual christmas tree haha that just sounds funny. good post. a live tree is always better than a fake one.

  7. I cannot wait to begin a tradition with my family… I was just telling my friend the other day just how much I desire to have my children have something to look forward to every single year. I’m really excited about that!! This post is really nice 🙂

  8. at least your victim made it home, my sister went to the woods, got two-trees, one for her, one for mom, next comes beltway drive home, one tree manages to break free from the roof till a truck hit it, poor Mom was told by my loving sister….sorry about your tree 🙂

    love Christmas tree stories , thanks !!!!!

  9. I got my tree off ebay 😉

  10. And that, dear blog-kin, is why I have an artificial pre-lit tree. That is way too much work.

  11. Can’t wait for our tree!! 😀 Congrats on being Freshly Pressed and continuing your tradition!

  12. are you sure you arent the griswolds?

  13. My family used to go and cut trees, and I loved it, but that was probably because I didn’t have to do any of the work. Trees are expensive, that’s for sure.
    We have an artificial one, without lights, and it saves us a lot of money each year…but I miss the smell of a real tree.
    Great post.

  14. I’ve read at least 5 blogs so far that were saying the same thing: Then we went to Home Depot! LMAO!

    We were no different. Kids were little, went to the tree farm..for years we did this. They got big, did the HD gig for two, then we were told “NO MORE HOME DEPOT TREES”. So we found a place, run by the Lions Club, and bought our pre cut tree there. Everybody is happy!

    But you can’t beat the memories! There are so many tree hunting stories to be told!

  15. Well, good for you. The tree is beautiful, and think of all the great memories you’ve made with the kids, including the whining! Ha, Ha!!

  16. Well, you must stand by your principles. Congrats on writing a funny post and being freshly pressed.

  17. Pretty cool. For us in the Phils. we just buy a tree & of course, it’s not a real tree but a plastic one (or whatever specific kind of plastic it is made of). It’s getting expensive each year so most average families improvise. Like we make lanterns & decors from indigenous materials but are creatively crafted. What I find amazing here in the Phils. though is that as early as September we already prepare Christmas decors, with or without a tree around. Thank you for sharing your kind of tradition.

  18. the nagging aunt which comes up with the same crappy gifts every single year … inevitable.. :’)

    nice post!

  19. Loved your post! 🙂 Really great!

  20. Your tree looks lovely! We’ve always had a fake tree…and after reading about the hassle I think I’m sticking with that! I’ll leave the real tree to Rockefeller. 🙂 Congrats on freshly pressed!

  21. I laughed out loud when I read that you nailed the stand to the floor. Ingenuity at it’s finest! 😉

  22. Beautiful choice! Seems tradition can never be effortless! Love the star tree topper! We have the same one! Really!
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  23. a nice tradition. “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.”

    we reached Grandma style w/ our lame artifical tree that hasn’t yet made its way from the stairwell. (due to my son’s asthma.)

    enjoy your Christmas and your tree…

    and, of course, your Grandma ❤

  24. When my sister and I were kids, we used to do that too. But what I remember most is the stifled temper tantrum my dad used to throw every year while trying to get the tree in the stand. Merry Christmas!

  25. Rogaine… bwah ha ha ha! Hilarious. Enjoyed the post very much.

    Happy Holidays! 🙂

  26. Your tree looks great! Cute post. When my hubby and I were young we did the “cut your own” thing. The tree looked so big in the tree farm, but when we got it home it was like a Charlie brown tree!
    Just remember…your making memories!

  27. Loved the Rogaine mention. A great post.

  28. Your story was great fun to read and your tree looks great! We’ve got three faux trees up and decorated around here… I have to go outside to smell a REAL Christmas tree. I don’t miss the work and expense of getting a real tree for Christmas, but I miss that tell-tale fragrance inside the house. I think I’ll buy a real wreath from Costco to put under the tree and see if that works for a while…

  29. Lol awesome story 🙂

  30. Merry Christmas. Your story is really interesting.

  31. Surely, you will enjoy this tree all the more for all of the work that went into acquiring it! Congratulations on nailing down (literally…) your version of the perfect tree so early in the season.

  32. I’m actually quite jealous seeing as I live in Asia (always have) and well, the Christmas trees here are plastic. Either that, or they don’t even have them at all. So your tree hunting expedition sounds like fun–a lot of effort but well worth it in the end! I can’t wait to slay my own one day! Your tree looks great and you can’t even tell if it’s thin in some areas! Congrats on being Pressed!

  33. Maybe not much of a savings, but you kept a tradition alive! I remember my father taking us to pick a tree out. We didn’t cut them down or anything like that, but they were fresh. And they always made the whole house smell like Christmas. Now, I do the artificial thing. Lame? Maybe, but it’s up and decorated and doesn’t make a mess. I don’t have to woryy about how to get it out the door when before it dies in my living room either. Beisides, I’m single and don’t think I could lift and fit a huge tree into a stand in my living room–even with the help of my two teenagers. But I’ll always remember having a real one when I was a kid. Nice story!

  34. Nice post! The wife talked me into a real Christmas tree this year – hoping I don’t burn down the house. I still miss my childhood’s silver aluminum tree with revolving back ground light (and reaching 200 degrees Fahrenheit).

  35. I am shifting this year and really haven’t got the time for a tree or crib this year. But next year, we are definitely going to have a Xmas Tree and Crib [by which time my baby will be 21 months old and at the ripe age where they simply MUST get into everything 🙂 ]
    Merry Christmas!

  36. Beautiful tree, funny story, great savings!

  37. Last year we trudged through the local farm and settled for a less than perfect (but much cheaper than the other breeds) tree. It was home less than a day when it fell over revealing my son who thought it was a good idea to play behind it. Another week passed and the tree continued to fall every time someone breathed heavily or spoke above a whisper. I kicked it to the curb and bought one at a lot two days before christmas. This year we went straight to the lot. I feel your pain and enjoyed the laugh . . . Did I mention I live in Oregon? 30 miles around here gets you to 60 tree farms and about 200 lots.

  38. This sounds almost like the Griswold’s in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation…one of my favorite holiday movies! Good for you for keeping the tradition alive…my family always used to buy freshly cut trees, but this year, I’m making do with my own artificial tree, inherited from my late grandfather. Although it’s not a real live tree as in year’s past, I somehow have a special place in my heart for this artificial imposter. Great post! Congrats on FP!

  39. Nice Christmas tree.

  40. nice one… i like it.. wish to have one at home..

  41. Hilarious! “…Rogaine to the water…” made me laugh out loud.

    Then I misread your sentence about Grandma as, “…last year Grandma was the tree… came out of the box with lights already on her.” Yikes! I had to drink a bit more coffee and reread. 🙂

  42. This, my friends, is what the best Christmas memories are made of! What a fun holiday post. Your kids will still be talking about those trips when you are gone, and dragging their children out to “slay” the tree. I always loved my dad’s story of the time his dad was working at a tree lot and sold the tree he was taking home because it was the last one and he had a desperate family show up at the last minute. He then went home and cut down the tree in the back yard much to my Grandmother’s dismay. Happy Christmas to you!

  43. Great post. I have had too many bad experiences with natural christmas trees. People who swear by them are in a class all their own.

  44. I so enjoyed reading about your experience this year – great sense of humor you’ve got! 🙂

  45. LOL don’t we all love it when life plays these games with us? 😀 I love the $2 part.

  46. Love your story and the tree is beautiful. We always used to cut a tree in the woods near our lakeside cabin. It was way off in the wilderness, but not quite on our own property. The year a forest ranger stopped us and fined us $135 for cutting on crown land was the year we decided it was time to start buying pre-cut ones. Christmas blessings to you. Enjoy that tree!

  47. I like mantle or table trees, the ones that are only a foot or two high, that you have to choose ornaments wisely for or else they topple over or look smothered. But your tree looks great! Very funny post, liked it a lot. Congrats on the Freshly Pressed!

  48. the tree looks great

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