First of all you should know that the fetching of the Christmas tree is a total and complete emotional minefield for me. When I was growing up in Oregon, we always cut down our Christmas tree, mostly from Christmas tree farms but one time from an old lady’s front yard, after my mom marched up to her front door and told her that her trees really needed thinning and she’d be happy to do it for her. True story.
Anyway, in my family, growing up, we ALWAYS cut down our Christmas tree. Now my mom has moved back to Vermont and she’s raising chickens and she cooks bear on a wood stove and she got a chain saw for her birthday. I have no idea where she’s getting her tree this year but I’m guessing she’s doing it in the most vermonty manner one can possible get a tree.
Like by sleigh. Horse drawn sleigh. Yes. Probably that.
Erik and I have cut down our fair share of Christmas trees, but then we had two kids and we just got tired. We wearied of paying $65 dollars for a tree that we had to cut down ourselves while everyone else on our street had perfectly lovely trees they’d gotten at Home Depot. So now we get our tree at Home Depot, and it costs $25 dollars and it’s a two minute drive and it is a nice tree and so easy. And plus my kids are 4 and less than 2. They won’t even remember this. When it counts and they can remember, maybe we’ll go cut up the mountains and cut down a $65 tree, but for now, I take the easy and cheap way out.
It doesn’t matter though. Every year my mom asks about our tree and every year when I have to tell her we picked it up in the Home Depot parking lot, I cringe. A lot. This year I think my cringing was coming across loud and clear on the phone because she actually said to me “Hey, you don’t have to justify it to me. Just because you’re a complete sell out.”
So yeah. Too lazy and tired to go cut down the tree, but still emotionally manipulated into feeling like a jerk about it.
Obviously, the tree fetching was a total disaster. It was so terrible I honestly felt like I was living a cliche as it happened.
Katie had been up all night long the night before, and collectively Erik and I had gotten about three hours of sleep. She slept all day, ruining all our plans to get the tree early and go out to breakfast, and she was still in a terrible mood when she finally woke up and she cried all the way to Home Depot, all through the parking lot, and all the way home. I still had delusions about what a wonderful time this was going to be, so I insisted that we stop off at Starbucks on the way there so I could be sipping something delicious as we meandered happily through the tree lot, and I brought Eli in with me and VERY CLEARLY explained that I was getting Katie a cake pop and that he could get a cake pop too OR something else but he could not have both, and so of course he chose orange juice, and then spent the entire time we were picking out our tree LOSING HIS DAMN MIND over the fact that he didn’t have a cake pop and his sister did. Erik almost had a throw down with some lady who had chosen the busiest Christmas tree getting day of the year to buy five trees, throw them down in the middle of the parking lot, and declare herself “in line”, and at various points through out the experience Erik and I had fights about when to go, what the kids would wear, who would drive, whether or not to go to Starbucks, what tree we should get, who should take what screaming kid, how to unwrap a christmas tree, where the line was, how to get the tree on the car, why that weird dude was giving us weird looks (can’t imagine), how many pointsettias to buy, citrus tree fertilizer, white lights, and whether or not we should just call off Christmas all together. Blargh.
Oh, it was a terrible day. A really terrible day. Here’s a visual representation, for you non verbal learners:
Decorating the tree on Sunday was better. Erik finally wrestled it into the World’s Worst Christmas Tree Stand and put the lights on and when I got home from shopping with Amy, the second I walked in the door there was Eli, screaming “We can decorate the tree now! Mom’s home!” This was the most excited I’ve seen him for any Christmas thing ever. He actually helped hang ornaments on the tree, and he’s never wanted to do that before. It wasn’t quite the “hot chocolate popcorn christmas carols” extravaganza I have in my head as the Christmas Tree Decorating Ideal, but it gives me hope that we’ll get there, someday. All the low branches with the three ornaments crammed onto the ends are pretty adorable too. Eli is VERY proud of his ornament hanging, and in fact at the end of it told me, thoughtfully: “Hmmm. Mom, I am much better at this than you are!” Awesome.
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