We have a fake Christmas tree. It is nice enough and does the job, then folds up and hides under our stairs for the rest of the year. The kids put lights and ornaments on it and it looks good. I have given up on the idea of a perfect magazine-looking Christmas tree. We raise kids around here, not home designers.
But to me, there is the quiet appeal of a real Christmas tree, calling to me. I've only had a read tree two or three times, but I long for it. I love the feel of real branches, the chill of picking out one just-right, the gummy excitement of setting it straight in the stand, the delectable smell of crushed pine needles in the vacuum.
This year, I decided, we will get a real tree. We're going on a holiday vacation anyway, so we'll set up our regular tree for at home, then have a real tree for there. I thought we'd just stop by a Christmas tree lot on the way out of town, strap it to the top of the tree, and away we go!
I was all prepared. I had popcorn to pop and needles and string make garlands of popcorn. I had white paper and scissors to cut real, six-pointed snowflakes. I hunted down a package of tinsel so we could individually place the silvery strands "just so" like my dad's mother did. I packed a few strings of the colored lights my boys prefer over the more calming white ones. I purchased a tree stand and even a tree body bag for when it was time to go home. All set? You bet.
Of course, no plan goes exactly right. At least none of mine do. We go started too late in the day to stop by a tree stand. The next day, we had to take a bunch of time to drive to town, inquire after real Christmas trees, and then drive to the next town to find one. They were more expensive than the ones I saw at home. And once we actually got the biggest little tree I could bear to pay that much for and lugged it home, we couldn't find the tree stand. I had intentionally placed it between the front seats in the van so it wouldn't get lost.
After scouring the cabin and both vans (we don't have a van we all fit in so we have to drive tandem), we came to the disheartening conclusion that we had left the tree stand home. I was too sick to go any further, so Trent went back into town to locate another stand for our poor tree. He found one at the third place he stopped, and reluctantly paid double for it. We have a hard time parting with our money, I guess.
As he left the hardware store, he got a flash of inspiration. Why buy a tree stand when you can make one? He went dumpster diving, found a bucket, and came home with it and a pile of rocks. Where he found rocks when everything was covered by a foot of snow is beyond me. We stuck the tree in the bucket, tried to secure it with rocks, and ended up tying the tree to both sides of the cabinet behind it. It's a good thing we had green twine! It had a nice, back-woodsy, Charlie Brown Christmas tree feel.
And we found the tree stand in our driveway when we got back. Just so you don't worry, we've returned both of them.