Monday, December 20, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

Many, many Christmases ago I caved. 

I chucked childhood tradition and gave into the ease and convenience of an artificial Christmas tree.  It was so easy!  So simple!  So perfect and lovely!  I never looked back.

But Randy has always stayed true to being a real Christmas tree person. 

So in the spirit of compromise (that has become the bane of my existence these past three months as we have merged our two households into one and almost every single decision on what stays and what goes requires the SERIOUS negotiation skills!) I agreed to a live Christmas tree.


I LOVE our live Christmas tree.  I forgot how wonderful it is to walk by and smell that fresh pine smell, and seeing the quirky imperfections make it more fun in my eyes. 

But I do have to say that it is so much easier up here in the Pacific NW to get a live tree because they are EVERYWHERE.  Washington isn't called the Evergreen State for nothing!  The live Christmas trees are so fresh and green because they were basically just cut down the day before you bought yours so they stay healthy and beautiful through the entire season.

But what I noticed immediately after Thanksgiving was that Christmas trees in my part of the world are big business!  There are Christmas trees for sale literally everywhere you turn.  I still can't believe it.  So many more people here buy live trees that I guess supply is simply keeping up with demand.

So...yesterday morning when I opened my eyes I flinched and my retinas almost burned out of my head when I looked out my window.  That strange, intense glare...what was it?  IT WAS THE SUN!  It has, literally, been storming and flooding here for weeks and I haven't seen the sun in many, many, many days.  I kind of freaked out a little bit.  Like I jumped out of bed and kept shouting oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!  Randy is off flying so I only had Dot here to get happy with and she was mighty excited, too.

I knew I had to get outside and grab the sun while I could so I thought I'd try and take some pictures and explain this Christmas tree phenomenon.  Disclaimer...horrible pictures lay ahead that don't really do my story justice, but honestly friends I was in such a panic not to lose the sun that I was barely focusing the camera before racing to the next place on my beautiful, glorious, SUNNY Saturday morning drive.  It is THAT CRAZY here when the sun shines. Sure enough, it was storming by noon, but it was wonderful while it lasted.

But I digress.  Back to the point of this story.

I've learned that lots of people up here plant Christmas trees as a retirement business.  They will plant their main crop when they are in their 40s and by the time they are in their 60s they start selling trees.  Case in point are our neighbors who live about three miles down the road from us.  They basically planted Christmas trees in their front yard and now sell them on the weekends during the holidays.

But drive another three miles down this same road and you will see one of many huge, commercial tree farms in this area.  This picture taken across the road is not pretty by any means, but I'm trying to give you the scope of this farm.  We're talking hundreds and hundreds of trees of every variety.

Christmas tree businesses are so close together that you see signs like this everywhere.  Should I turn left or right? Competition is fierce!

I'm serious when I say that you see Christmas tree farms everywhere around here.  Here is a brand new farm just getting started down the road from our house about eight miles.  It will take about 10-12 years for these trees to reach six feet tall. 

 The elementary school outside of Eatonville is raising trees.  Their crop is a little further along.

Then there are the pre-cut Christmas tree stands that are even more plentiful then the cut-your-own tree farms.  Many people just set up the business in their front yards.

Lots of kids and teenagers were working the tree shops in their front yards.  Kind of like yuletide lemonade stands.  Some worked really hard on their marketing materials.

Others, not so much.

I saw a number of set ups like this one and they were actually my favorites, but I could only get this one lame picture because of the multi-car pile up I was causing behind me while trying to take the shot quickly.  Basically, families bring in their trailers and campers and tents and set up a big camp around the trees.  They had bonfires going, grills and smokers smelling delicious, lots of great music, some serious eggnog action...basically big old Christmas parties going on while they were selling trees.  It looked fun.

Then there are the many, many, many do-good organizations selling trees as fundraisers for their causes.  I was thrilled to see that the Eatonville Lions Club only had three more trees to go before a total sell out!

The Lions would also flock your tree for you.  I had to snicker.  I guess for the kitsch factor, a flocked tree might be kind of fun.  In the same vein as me wanting a silver, aluminum tree on our porch someday.  Goofy.

Because Randy had to be gone quite a bit this month, we got our tree pretty early, on December 1, and we bought it at Ft. Lewis Army Base.  Thanks to Randy, I have become a real supporter of businesses who support our troops so it was a no brainer that this is where we would get our tree.  The bummer?  I didn't have my camera with me that day.  So yesterday I went by there and took this picture and was happy to see that they were almost sold out.  They had tons of trees the day we were there.

We got our tree home and commenced with decorating!

And there is no better example of the compromise in the blending of our two homes that I mentioned earlier than our Christmas tree.  I was used to decorating my tree in a certain way and Randy was used to decorating his in his way so this year we just decided to put up whatever we wanted.  Over time, I know that the lines of "mine" and "his" will blend and become "ours" but right now we are still new at this and we each have our individual tastes and things that we prefer.

So see if you can guess whose ornaments are whose:

Shiny Vintage Santa

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Cute Cowboy Santa

Darth Vader

Supporting the troops with a festive, ribboned-up C17


Pretty gold-covered Aspen leaf

Princess Leia

Okay, I kid, but you know what continues to amaze me?  Even though our tastes are pretty much polar opposites in so very many areas, it all somehow comes together and works for us.

Next year we want to get a permit from one of the National Forests in our area and go cut a tree from the wild.  But as I was driving home yesterday I thought that might be harder than it sounds given that the scale is so much different in the woods around here.

How lovely are your branches, indeed.

Labels: , ,


  • At 12/20/2010 , Blogger Amelia said...

    Thanks for giving us the "skinny" on growing, selling, and buying real live Christmas trees in your area. I agree the smell is wonderful - but my husband's allergies would drive him to the edge of constantly being at the AM-PM clinic we will continue to stick to our non - smelling false tree.

    Your tree with "all" the decorations show the LOVE part of decorating for the season.

    Merry Christmas!

  • At 1/06/2011 , Anonymous Holly said...

    We married the same man. Only I married him ten years ago. It took at least half a dozen of those years to get rid of the Star Trek ornaments. I let him make the final decision, but they're gone nonetheless.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home