Monday, December 04, 2017

Choosing a tree ~ my column from Sunday's paper

Thanksgiving was a low-key event for us this year. We had a few members of the family and some friends over on Thanksgiving Day to do the turkey thang. We may be a minority, but we like to celebrate Halloween in October and Thanksgiving in November. We don’t start decorating for Christmas until December. That’s just the way we roll.

This past week after coffee and breakfast, we headed to the tree farm for a Christmas tree. It will live in our yard until a couple of weeks before the fat guy cometh. Last year we waited too late and all the good “planting trees” were gone.

We settled for an artificial tree. It was pretty, but it smelled like polyvinyl chloride. For me, the tastes, sounds, and smells are what make it feel like Christmas. And the smell of plastic wasn’t Christmas-like. We vowed to do better this year.

The trees we’ve had in the past were Leland Cyprus. They make pretty trees, but they grow like they are on steroids. Our yard is full of them. The smallest one is about 15 feet tall. The largest one is well over 30 feet. The front and backyard look like Christmas forests. Our first live Christmas tree was a white pine that we bought in December of 1983. It’s now big enough that we could cut it and build a log cabin.

We wanted something different this year. Over near the edge of the tree farm, we saw a
Tree of Christmas past
beautiful tree. It was smaller than a Leland, but it had a good vibe. Sunlight made it look silvery blue. It smelled like the Pacific Northwest. The label said, Blue Ice.

Jilda stood guard by the tree while I fetched the “digger-upper-guys.” When I took them back to where she was standing, they gave me the tag and said I could go inside and pay for the tree while they dug it up and loaded it for me.

There was a line of tree-buyers waiting to pay. Apparently, a lot of people had the same “start early” idea as we did. So, I poured me a complimentary cup of hot apple cider and did some people watching while I waited.

Christmas music flowed from speakers that I could not see. Everyone in there was smiling. A cat, the size of a pot-bellied pig, purred on the counter while kids oohed, aahed, and petted him. After the swiping of the card, I headed back out for the drive home.

I’d never heard of a blue-ice Christmas tree so when I got home, I Googled it and learned that it’s an Arizona Cypress. Over the coming days, we’ll dig out our Christmas music, sip eggnog and decorate our little Blue Ice Cyprus. When Jilda does her magic, I know it will be beautiful.

We’ll also start our yearly tradition of watching our old Christmas movies. My favorite film to start the Christmas countdown is “A Christmas Story.” It always takes me back to the early Christmases in Sloss Hollow. Chevy Chase and Christmas Vacation is usually the next one we watch.

This autumn has been a gift even though the weather has been warm at times.

But, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Let the fun begin.


  1. Such a smooth and peaceful post Rick. Looking forward to the day you post a picture of your decorated blue-ice (what a lovely name) tree.

  2. Christmas trees most definitely shouldn't smell artificial. And fake pine spray is an epic failure.
    Looking forward to seeing your tree after Jilda has wrought magic.

  3. Oh yes, let the fun is the most wonderful time of year after all !

  4. It must be great to live in one place and see the trees of Christmas past. You are so right about the Lelands thought, The previous owner planted some for privacy, It got like a forest by the time we bought.
    Anyway, good read, this column!

  5. Real trees are always nice. We used to get a real one. They are so pretty and yours is awesome!
    We opt for a fake tree now. I have a Christmas tree scent warmer that brings the Christmas aroma to the air. And then I bake cookies.
    Ive Never had eggnog!

  6. My packages are all sent. The US Postal Service will be set for the next fiscal year. Lisa please try eggnog. It is wonderful.

  7. We loved the smell of pine, until I developed an allergy for it. When a child, we always headed up the hills to cut a cedar.
    Now we have artificial, and my nose is clogged up all on its own.

  8. I have never had a real tree only fake trees and as a child didn't know a real tree was a thing only thought all people had fake trees

  9. I guess it's time to haul out our artificial tree and spray it with Pine Sol so it will smell real.

  10. Anonymous2:45 PM

    Don't you watch "Miracle on 34th Street"?


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