Every year we go out on the weekend after Thanksgiving to get our tree. And this year, since we decorated the house so early, it was hard to wait until after the turkey was cooked to bring home that Frasier fir. But even I knew that getting a tree earlier than Thanksgiving was a recipe for a dried out tree disaster.
This year, because it’s 2020 and nothing is remotely normal, it was almost 60 degrees on the day we went out for the tree. That’s about 30 degrees warmer than normal. Little Mister, who is a creature of habit and Type A personalty, insisted on wearing a winter hat (and one that was way too small) because he wears a hat to get the tree every year. I tried to explain global warming to him, and that it was too hot for a hat, but he insisted on wearing it and then complaining to me that he was sweating. Kids are awesome.
We went to our usual tree place, which is actually a local produce store that gets a shipment of precut trees each year that are fresh, well-shaped and reasonably priced. Because even though I love Christmas, I won’t spend a fortune on a tree. (Also, we usually get more than one tree so I need to be smart about my tree dollars). And I will not be trudging out into a field to cut down my own tree because I’ve been there and done that, and for me it’s completely overrated.
Here are the steps to getting a Christmas tree, according to KK:
- Get a real tree. I know artificial trees are a better financial investment in the long run, and there’s no mess, etc. But a fake tree – no matter how expensive – will never be mistaken for a real tree. Real trees are just imperfect enough. Plus, no scented candle can replicate the spicy piney smell of a real tree in your home.
- Be picky. Years ago the family joke was how long my mother would take to pick our her Christmas tree. She would evaluate at least 20-30 trees before deciding. I’m picky also, but I can pick out a tree in 10 minutes and be in love with it.
- Look at all angles. In most homes, one side of the tree is going to face a wall. Use this to your advantage! Very few trees are 360 degrees of perfection. Wonky branches? Gaping hole hear the top? Funny shape on the left? Put that side to the back. No one will know.
- Measure! If it were up to me, we would get a 10 foot tree each year, even though we only have 8 1/2 food ceilings. That’s why Mr. KK comes along, to bring me back to reality. We also use his homemade measuring system, when he stands next to the tree with his arm straight in the air. If the top of the tree and the top of his hand are the same height, the tree will fit in the house. Works every year.
- Don’t feel pressured. Some places have workers who want to follow you around and pull out the trees for you to look at. Try and avoid this at all costs. Not only is it awkward picking out your family Christmas tree with a stranger, I am forced to say not-so-nice things about their trees in front of them. (No one wants to hear they have scrawny trees).
- Use decorations to your advantage. Lights and strategically-placed ornaments can make or break a tree. Admittedly, some trees are beyond salvation, but twinkly lights and themed ornaments can really go a long way.
- Don’t settle! If you don’t find a tree you love, move on. There are a million trees out there, you will find yours.
- Be prepared to compromise. I love big, fat trees. Mr. KK likes more tapered, thinner trees. And I feel badly that every year he has to concede to a perfectly fat tree because they are the best trees around.
- Make a fresh cut. If you cut down a tree, be sure to bring it home and put it in water right away. If you bring home a tree but you want to let it “settle” outside for a day, that’s fine – just make a fresh cut so that baby will start drinking water once you put it in the stand.
- Accept the fact that come December 26th, you will hate your tree. Well, you won’t hate the tree itself (unless it has completely gone the sh*t) but you will hate the idea of your tree, and the fact that you have to take the tree down, put the ornaments away, and clean up. Even for someone who loves Christmas as much as I do, come the day after, I’ve already written the holiday off.
I’d like to say that we got our tree this weekend. However, we did not. After going to two different places, we didn’t find our perfect tree. Plus, at each place, we had tree workers following us and asking if we liked certain trees. I didn’t want to be rude, but when I go shopping for clothes, I don’t have someone following me around asking if I like a certain sweater, and if I don’t why not. Christmas trees are a personal preference, so please, kindly back away.
We’ll be back on the hunt next weekend, I know my perfect tree is out there!