Last year I did something I had never done before. Due to a Christmas trip to Florida for the holidays, my family did not put up a real Christmas tree. For us, a REAL Christmas tree involves a saw and wood and branches and fragrance and errant needles. It requires scootching under it every day risking hair and clothes being covered with gold glitter to make sure it remains adequately watered. It requires risking a mess of fallen needles and dribbled water on one's carpet.
Our memories of Christmases Past are filled with trips to cut our own tree. Now before you imagine us tromping through the woods Chevy Chase-style, let me stop you. We live in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. This is where Christmas trees are grown, groomed, and then shipped all over the country. We are surrounded by tree farms on every side. I can't drive the few blocks to Wal-mart without passing a tree farm. They are abundant, they are affordable, and they are simply the most beautiful trees to be had.
With all of our children here for the Thanksgiving holiday, we thought it would be wonderful to go get our tree while they were here. Surely 16-month-old Evelyn would think it a delightful activity. One problem: most of the tree farms do not open until the day after Thanksgiving. We wanted to get it the day before.
After a little research, we found one that was willing to let us come early. Granted there would be no charming amenities like cocoa and candy canes, but we deemed it worth the sacrifice.
Being used to cutting our tree here in town, it seemed unusual to have to drive too far. The cooperative tree farm was on the other side of Silverton, half way up the hill to Silver Falls. And they had snow! And very slippery roads. Which was fine for Brian driving his 4WD pickup, not so much for Robert driving my Chrysler.
But that was not the only thing that set this trip apart from other tree-hunts. Not being ready yet to cater to individuals seeking single trees, the tree farm was in the midst of harvesting and shipping trees for its commercial production. We found ourselves in the middle of a thrilling adventure. Helicopters and all!