Another year, another Christmas post. For a non-Christian, I spend a lot of time each December writing about Christmas.
We picked up our tree today. For the fourth year in a row, we drove out through the dormant apple orchards to Showers’ Tree Farm. We used to go to Seven Springs Tree Farm, closer to town, but they went out of business. Just as well, Seven Springs priced their trees by the foot—seven dollars if I remember correctly. Bouncing up the dirt road into the field where they grew the trees, I’d always say “This year, kids, no more than six feet.”
Every year, not while sitting in our car listening to Christmas carols with the heater blasting a summer breeze, but out in the field, an icy wind blowing our voices away, we had the same argument.
Eli: “I want a fat tree.”
Sophie: “I want a tree shaped like a Christmas tree.”
Susan: “I want a Charlie Brown tree.”
Me: “I want a tree less than six feet.”
After a frigid half hour of arguing, we’d find the perfect tree. I would lay in the snow, scooch myself under the tree, and cut it off at the base with a bow saw. Checking out at the gift shop with its overpriced ornaments, store bought donuts and scalded hot chocolate, the guy would measure the tree. “I got eight feet. Fifty-six dollars.” Tip, crappy food, an ornament we didn’t need, our trip to the country tree farm was an eighty-dollar outing. It would be cheaper to buy a tree from a church in the middle of a city.
On our way out to Showers’ today, Susan told us tree prices are going up. “Well maybe not here in Gettysburg, but nationally. I read about it on NPR today.” It seems Boomers are done with real trees; the tree farms aren’t selling enough to sustain operations. Showers’ is the same price every year—thirty-five dollars, any tree, any size. Except this year. They repainted their sign: Fifty Dollars – Any Tree.
At least they don’t have a gift shop.