The Perfect Christmas Tree

The Hunt for the Perfect Christmas Tree

 

            Once upon a time in a land far away, not too long ago there lived a man.  This man had it in his mind to provide the perfect Christmas for his brand new wife.  They had just finished exchanging vows no more than two months ago and he still felt an overwhelming need to impress her.  The North Country that he is indigenous to was a land ruled by snow and pine trees.  These trees, to call them majestic would be an understatement of the most notorious nature, were magnificent in their fullness and beauty.  Now a standard Christmas tree is anywhere from eight feet down to an insignificant five feet tall, but they are full with minimal bare spots.

            This man’s father owned eighty acres of land in the lower mountains of the Great Divide.  One day in the beginning of December the fresh snow covered the land in an ethereal blanket of white.  It wasn’t very deep yet but it was deep enough to create a slight challenge to traversing the land.  At eight o’clock in the morning this man (let’s call him me) called up his father from his house in town.  The conversation was short and to the point like most manly phone calls, it lasted no more than thirty seconds.  Everything that needed to be discussed was discussed and agreed upon within those thirty seconds.  Soon thereafter I got into my 1993 Chevy Cavalier—a two door—and headed out to the ole homestead.  Roughly ten minutes later I arrived in high spirits in anticipation of retrieving the perfect Christmas tree.

            I dressed for the occasion in a pair of winter pack boots, long johns, three layers of shirts, and my jacket.  Yes it is true that men in the North generally don’t wear more than one or two layers on our legs.  I don’t know why but it is more important to keep the core warm.  Upon arrival I spoke with dad for about fifteen minutes.  Then I grabbed the axe and headed out to the back forty.  I walked up to the fallen log where many hunting trips began, but on this day I was not hunting deer I was hunting the perfect Christmas tree.  The tree I had in mind was a perfect triangle with absolutely no bare spots, and a height of no more than seven feet.  Now men from the country have keen eyesight.

Finding the Perfect Tree

 

            I narrowed my eyes to gain a clear view of the area and with those narrowed eyes I scanned the view.  I didn’t really have an unobstructed 360 but I did have a sufficiently unobstructed view of about 270 degrees.  I scanned South, East, West, and all the points in between finding nothing satisfactory let alone perfect, so I slung the axe and headed up towards the creek in order to get a more in depth look at the offered trees.  The most I could find were old, tall, or half way dead trees.  As I neared the fence line we shared with the neighbor I found it.  The perfect Christmas tree was right there, and I don’t know how but somehow that tree was illuminated as if the clouds parted for the sun to shine directly upon it, and only it.  I heard over and over in my head the old Christmas carol, “Oh Christmas Tree” playing like a broken record stuck on the incessant repetition of those three words.  I had the tune perfect but could not think of the rest of the words so my internal rendition ended up being, “Oh Christmas tree oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree oh Christmas tree” and so on.  I was so excited that I started to run.  If you’ve ever ran in snow it is pretty difficult just like running in shallow water, especially while wearing pack boots.  Naturally, being how it is hard to maintain a run in snow, I fell.  I fell face first into some more snow with the axe going out to the side of me to protect myself from being cut.

            Quickly recovering my stance I ran on, though slower this time until I reached the glorified tree.  I stood at the base of the tree admiring its magnificence and at the same time measuring it with my eyes.  The tree was probably about twenty feet tall and thick so I decided to cut it at about arms height.  It was a fairly quick job of cutting the tree down as I’ve felled many trees before with an axe.  After the tree was down I de-limbed roughly three feet off the base so I would have a place to drag it back to the house.  Being excited about a Christmas tree may seem like a pretty lame thing to be excited about but I was beside myself with excitement.  I grabbed hold of the tree and began the arduous task of bringing her home.  I should probably mention at this point that I felled the tree by the creek which is in a sort of valley; the house is on the other side of the hill of this valley, so I had to drag the tree up one hill down one and up a final short hill.  Honestly, I could not have given a shit at the moment, and I began.  After about twenty feet of uphill pulling I began to realize how heavy a twenty or so foot Christmas tree weighs, and by forty feet of uphill pulling I began to think about grabbing a four wheeler for this task.  Unfortunately, I would have to have left the tree in order to do so and finally resigned to the thought that it would be just as quick to drag it the remaining two or three hundred more feet.  Upon completion of another 150 feet of uphill pulling I crested the first hill, so I stopped to catch my breath.  It was almost as if everything I’d ever done in my life was a build up for this moment of unbridled glory.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this tree that I so laboriously hauled out of the forest was the one that would most please my bride.

 

After a five minute interlude I continued on my journey.  I could just as easily cut straight across but the terrain in between where I was and where I wanted to be was not conducive to dragging a twenty foot Christmas tree.   Therefore, I took the longer yet easier path to the house.  The downhill portion, contrary to popular belief was absolutely not as easy as it appeared to be.  I pulled just as hard and just as long downhill as I did uphill, only the weight was different.  When I pulled that glorious tree into the yard my dad was on the porch waiting for me.

“Got your tree huh?”

“Sure did, isn’t it nice?” I asked

“How you going to get it home?” he asked.  Now there I stood with a twenty foot Christmas tree that was absolutely beautiful with no way to get it home.  I mean, I sure wasn’t going to strap it to the roof of my ’93 Cavalier, so dad offered to haul it to my house for me.  I graciously accepted the offer.  In the yard I cut off five feet from the bottom of the tree to make transport a slight bit easier and loaded it into dad’s truck.  He drove to town and I followed, plans spinning wildly in my head as I plotted every single step of the decorating and set up of the tree.

            When we got to the house my wife came out to check out the tree.  I was right, she was thrilled at its sheer beauty, but quickly asked me how we were going to get it into the house.  After dad left I cut another five feet off the bottom effectively sizing it down to a ten foot Christmas tree, which would fit into the house.  The stand I had was one of those crappy dollar store special tree stands, but the opening was smaller than the trunk of the tree so out of the house I went with the tree.  I had to cut off another two feet of tree, but at least this time I had a hand saw.  For some unknown reason I could never make a straight cut with a handsaw but it mattered not for the moment.  Instead of dragging the tree back into the house to put it into the stand, I brought the stand out to the tree.  It finally fit and I decided that now would be the perfect time to trim the tree as they say. 

The End of my Real Tree Days

Being how this was my first time setting up a Christmas tree on my own I trimmed the tree and incidentally cut off the top of the tree. I really don’t know what I was thinking but it just seemed right and chopped off two feet from the top and thoroughly messed up the look of the tree. With the tree still in the stand I brought it back into the house. For some reason the doggone thing wouldn’t stand up on its own and kept falling over. I moved it, I rotated it, and finally I set it on blocks to get it to stand up straight. As I was putting the garland around the tree the son of a bitch fell over again. Well, that was the last straw. I have always had a short fuse and this time was no different, I picked up the tree, dragged it out of the house, and threw it over the railing of the deck.

That was where it stayed until my wife got home a couple of hours later. She saw it and implored me to redo the tree. I did and it stayed up for the rest of that Christmas but shortly after Christmas we went to Wal-Mart and bought a fake Christmas tree.

Copyright 2009 by Wesley Cox

Real or Fake

Do you use a real tree of a fake one

  • Real, nothing is better
  • Fake, so much easier
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Comments 19 comments

poetlorraine 6 years ago

sounds like you had a whole heap of fun. GREAT HUB


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

Sure, a fake tree is bogus, but the great thing is that they're easy to manage (no needles, sap on your hands, etc.), are fire-proof, last for about 1,000,000 years and can be bought cheaply not to mention reused. Besides, you really only need the tree for one day! What to do for the other 364 days out of the year?

Good story, Wes. I was with you the entire time :D


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

PL: It was quite the adventure I have to admit. Thanks for reading. I assume you received my e-mail.

Dohn: I have to agree with you Dohn, I have had the same seventeen dollar Christmas tree for the last 11 years. It still looks the same as when I bought it.


Dame Scribe profile image

Dame Scribe 6 years ago from Canada

I would most likely get lost in the woods after finding my tree that's how close I pay attention, lol. Great tale and hope you have some great holidays! :)


katyzzz profile image

katyzzz 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Just smell that pine, nothing beats it. But a good topic.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Lol. You live and learn. We now opt for fake.


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Dame: It is true that you must pay attention to where you are going out in the woods, but with me since I have an excellent memory and the land was my dads, I always knew where I was.

Katyzzz: I too love the smell of pine trees, but fake tree are so much easier now.

Ethel: That you do, I am glad that I am not the only one for fake trees.


Jess Killmenow profile image

Jess Killmenow 6 years ago from Nowheresville, Eastern United States

Quite the Christmas tree epic! It's like Ulysses or something. Wow! Thanks for sharing it.


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Thank you for reading Jess and thank you for the comments.


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

LOL, Isn't it funny how trees look really small until you get them home and get ready to put them up. I declare even when I measure the height and width, I still have to literally trim the tree down.

Needless to say, I miss having "live" trees, there's never enough time or energy to do that now. Great story, it reminds me of my childhood days on the farm. Happy Holidays!:)


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Money Glitch: Thanks for reading and I agree with you, there is nothing like the feeling of having a real tree in the house. However, with time and clean up being an issue I now prefer fake trees.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

What fun. Have a very happy and merry Christmas.


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Breakfastpop: Yes it was a blast, you have a merry Christmas too and a happy New Year as well.


pastella13 6 years ago

Real or fake, I don't mind, as long as it isn't one of those fibre optic things. I don't like those at all. I love the idea of going and chopping it down yourself and bringing it home and setting it all up. Here though, we have to buy one from an outlet and we never have snow to go with it. Still, it's the fun of it and all the excitement it conjurs up to have a real tree smelling of pine needles and sitting beside a roaring fire. Bliss!


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

You're right it is true bliss...until you have to start cleaning up the pine needles. Real pain in the butt then. Thank you for reading and commenting.


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

I do like real trees but you cant beat the convenience of a fake tree. This year I was kind of in a depressed state and didn't even want to put up a tree at all. I finally decided I would just get a little fake tree since we usually get a real one but I was't in the spirit I guess. Anyway, I bought a little pink tree with lights already on it and it was adorable. Everyone that has seen it loves it. But anyway, I like your writing Wes I can really see the writer in you and I think its fabulous. I see you have written a few hubs so I am going to have to get aquainted with your hubs and start reading them. Looks like you have another fan if you don't mind that is?


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

I think that most of us don't really feel in the spirit of Christmas until that tree does go up. Thank you for commenting and sharing your experience and of course I don't mind having another fan. Take care and thanks for the vote of confidence on my writing.


rls8994 profile image

rls8994 6 years ago from Mississippi

Loved this story. It reminded me of when I was growing up. We always had a real tree for Christmas. One year my Stepfather brought in the biggest tree I had ever seen. It was not only tall but wide. It took up half of the living room. We still laugh about that tree to this day!


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012 Author

Thank you for reading and I am glad that I was able to bring back some good memories for you.

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