The annual dilemma?
There are many options, a real tree from a lot, a cut your own tree from a local farm or even a grocery store or big box store. It could be the year of an artificial tree and if it is an artificial tree do I go with a life-like tree or a not at all life-like tree, all glitter and colour? Then there could be no tree, which I have gone with in the past but that is rather boring.
The tree tends to end up as a symbol of what I am going through in my life. Kind of weird but true. Right down to the decorations that get chosen in a particular year. There were those years when the kids were small and there was so much excitement about the holidays, the tree was as big as it could be. There was also lots of energy, lots of friends and family in and out of the house to enjoy the effort and fun. Then there were the years when there was a decline in the numbers around and a decline in even the imagined energy. There have also been the in-between years when I have felt like decorating and there have folks around although never quite like the "old days". The question still remains, "what to do about a tree"?
After some debate, this year I went for a totally new option and I took my clippers out into the garden, did a little cutting and made a tree. This is a first and the jury is out, my people will let me know when they arrive. I quite like how it turned out, it takes up only a small space, it smells nice, it has lights and decorations. I got to use some very old family decorations that my mother bought years ago and I truthfully never liked that much and therefore have never put them on the tree before, but this year, they are just right for my just right tree.
The tree decision has many roots (pun intended). Growing up, we never went to the "country" to chop down a tree, we always went of to a tree lot and spent time selecting that just right tree. Tree lots were fun back in the day, the classic outdoor tree lot lights strung across, the tree seller who often resembled Old Saint Nick himself. Traditional tree lots seem to be few and far between from what I can see, although I hear that New York City still has them. Now trees are in parking lots of big stores or not in lots at all, just wrapped tight seemingly suffocating in plastic net twine leaning against a store wall, no way to browse and select that just right tree. When my own children were small we would pack into the car and drive a short way out of town to a local farm. This was a day event, the tree getting was followed with food and hot drinks with friends and family. Some years we all enjoyed this and some years it was "forced family fun" as we called it but it made sense and it supported local famers, gave us an afternoon together in the country and we could browse until that just right tree was spotted, discussed, voted on, cut down and dragged home. As my children grew and life threw us changes so did the tree getting.
I have, in the last 12 years, gone with friends/family to cut down a tree, bought a whatever tree from the lined up wall leaners at the grocery store and even dragged a tree indoors through the corridors a big box store complaining, then laughing all the way. The trees have gotten smaller over the years as has my house so that makes sense. A small tree is easier to get into the car trunk, into the house and into the stand without help and get the lights on. I also like small things. Each year I consider the artificial tree (apparently it is incorrect to say fake tree). I have never had an artificial tree and this is not because I don't like them, it is because, well, it is not "traditional" for me. They make lovely artificial trees these days but those ones are expensive and I am not sure I would ever be able to decide which one since they are all rather the same. So, if I do go with an artificial tree one of these years, I think it will have to be all glitz and glamour and only resemble a real tree in shape and size! Maybe next year!
In these darkest days of winter, the great thing about a tree, no matter what variety, it has lights! Let it shine!