Saturday, December 5, 2015

how to choose a Christmas tree in 20 fun-filled steps.

I know a lot of my friends are spending part of this weekend hunting for the perfect Christmas tree, so I compiled this handy guide to help you out. You're welcome.


1. Dress in twelve layers of clothing, both to represent the twelve days of Christmas and the number of degrees it will be during your outing.

2. To encourage the holiday spirit, change your partner's car radio to the local station that starts playing Christmas songs the day after Halloween. Maybe this station has already been playing in your car since early November. Maybe you're already sick of two-thirds of the songs, but unwilling to admit that you should have just waited until December to listen to any of them. Whatever, you sound amazing singing along to that Mariah Carey song you hate that you love.

3. Feel a pang of guilt about cutting down a live tree for decorative purposes, but then feel vindicated when you pull into the parking lot of the tree farm, because you're supporting a local, family-owned business that plants a tree for every one that gets chopped down for Christmas. Plus, they smell fantastic.

4. Grab a handsaw, a wagon, and a map indicating which tree species are in which zones. Confidently declare that you remember Google saying that Fraser firs are the optimal variety of tree, when in reality, it's just that the Fraser fir zone is the closest and it's freaking cold.

5. Traipse through mud puddles to the Fraser firs. Question aloud how the mud has managed to defy the freezing temperatures and can still splatter up on everyone's boots and pants.

6. Scoff derisively at the first tree your partner points out and declares is "perfect." Jesus. It looks like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree after a hoard of cats has attacked it...and then yarfed it back up. You can do better.

7. Wander up and down the picked-over aisles, trying really hard not to be an asshole by pointing out that everyone who came last weekend (like you suggested) got all the best trees. Also, it was warmer last weekend. But don't say that out loud, either.

8. Argue with your partner (who's now standing fourteen tree aisles and a quarter-mile away) about the trees you each suggest. Too wide. Too scraggly. Too gray. Too dead. Too tall.

9. Argue about how tall your ceilings actually are.

10. Turn away righteously, wondering whether your partner's (in)ability to choose a quality tree has any relation to his choosing of you. Stand still for a few moments in the silent Christmas wonderland and question every life choice you've made up until and including this moment.

11. Partner catches up with you and suggests heading in a new direction, together, with fresh eyes. Grasp his mittened hand and agree with him. Start to feel a little better.

12. Repeat step #7, but accidentally say it all out loud. Feel like an official jerk...but also not wrong. Start hating yourself and trees and Christmas and traditions and cold weather and life and -

13. Shit! That tree right there! It's perfect! OMG cut it down fast before that cute family over there sees it.

14. Realize halfway through sawing the trunk that this is the same exact tree your partner pointed out when you first started searching an hour and a half ago. Pray he doesn't notice.

15. Load the tree onto the wagon, pretend not to hear your partner mumble, "This is the first fucking tree I saw," and head to the cashier.

16. It's cash only. Did either of you bring cash? Of course you didn't bring cash. Who the hell has cash these days?

17. Start to lose faith in life itself while you stand guard over your hard-won tree and your partner drives to the nearest ATM, which is fifteen minutes away. Also start to lose feeling in your lower extremities.

18. Pay ridiculous amount of cash for the tree and tie it to the top of your partner's car, which is exceedingly hard to accomplish, considering your fingers and soul and relationship are now numb.

19. Drive home and plop the tree in a tree stand. Decorate it a few days later, when you've physically recovered from getting the tree, but then forget to water it ever again, turning it into a crispy brown fire hazard whose needles are mostly all over the damn floor.

20. Erase steps 1-19 from your memory over the course of the next twelve months, and continue this die-hard annual tradition for exactly one (1) Christmas after your first child is born. For her second Christmas, go tree-shopping at a slightly different, much warmer farm, where you can also stock up on necessities like diapers and Cheez-its: Target.

Rowan circa 2014, choosing a tree the smart way.

Ho ho ho!

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