Every year I regale you lucky ducks with near death experiences of our annual Christmas Tree Hunt. You can check out old ones here and here. Every year is different, seeing as how we're gypsy wannabes who can't stay put or go to the same mountain every year, but one thing remains the same:
Something will go hideously wrong.
Chopping down our own tree is a family tradition that began, I suppose, when I was but a wee babe, tucked in my Papa's flannel jacket while Mama sprinted ahead "just around that one last corner." The menfolk in my family tend not to enjoy this particular tradition for some reason (something to do with missing football and lugging back a tree the size of Mt Kilimanjaro) and they will more than likely morph into the dad from A Christmas Story when he looses his cool over the furnace and weaves a tapestry of profanity that still hangs over Lake Michigan to this day. But tradition is tradition is tradition and if they don't want gravy in their stocking to go with their coal, the menfolk will oblige the womenfolk and the childrenfolk.
Having lived both in Wyoming and Michigan, places where it gets rather cold and snowy to say the least, we were pleasantly surprised to trek through the dirt this year instead of the snowbanks up to our armpits. We're used to losing Anna, who is vertically challenged, and only seeing the tips of her pigtails sticking out of the snow. We've lost dogs altogether and possibly one grandpa.
So, this year...it was fast! It was not cold! There was no whining! The car didn't get stuck! We didn't get lost! We remembered snacks! We only had to drive a mere thirty minutes! We were back in under two hours!
I had even asked for time off from Nutcracker rehearsals so I could dedicate the day to our tree hunting. My boss looked at me and asked if there was a death in the family to warrant such an absence twenty days before Nutcracker. There might be, I replied, there's always that risk.
So, the problems didn't rear their ugly heads until we got home. Then we came to understand a nugget of truth:
Some trees look smaller when they're on a mountainside then they do when you try to fit them in the living room.
Also, we're hoping forest service officials won't dust the stump for fingerprints because we may have lopped off more than the designated amount. Whatever. Let's not split hairs.
Let's just say there was pruning going on.
Eventually, we got the tree whittled down to Redwood size and set up. The lights went on! The gold beads went on! All the ornaments (all 2134897.5497) of them went on! The stockings were hung by the chimney with care! I in my kerchief and Dad in his cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap (or a rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond).
Then it happened. I walked by our Christmas tree. We'll never know if my pajama hem brushed the branches or if I breathed too heavily or if a cold north wind was blowing through a window, but suddenly -
* crrrrrrreeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaak *
I found myself being leaned upon like Lucy by Joe Junior in While You Were Sleeping.
The tree fell into my arms. Or to be more precise, my hair.
Luckily, I broke its fall with my 5'3" body. I'm sacrificial like that. Also, I have a kid who faints so I'm accustomed to holding out my arms at a moments notice and catching things.
I yell for my handsome prince and he comes running. We push the tree back up. We try nailing fishing line to the wall - an old trick used by cave men and their Christmas trees - but we only have the world's smallest and most ineffective nails and the line slips right off. Plus, the weight of our tree snaps the line anyway. Then we realize our tree stand is busted. This explains some things. Like why the tree tried to kill me. So in order to go to the store and buy a replacement stand we had to do something so dreadful I don't even want to talk about it here...
we had to undecorate the tree in the same day we decorated it.
Then we went and bought a new stand. We splurged for the $19.97 one and not the crummy, deadly $7.97 one.
Then we came home and started over.
Two years later, we had our Christmas tree.
It was worth it. Even if I had to take three separate photos to show you the full tree due to its size.
Tree and Elf.
This is the same expression I had on my face when the tree tried to murder me.
Our angel topper is dwarfed by the behemoth branches. She also may or may not have a terrified expression on her face. She doesn't get out much.