It's not quite like Vermont. Almost, but not quite. Some of the basics are the same - there are trees and saws and hiking through the woods. But there's a certain artificial piece to it. Fighting the crowds of other families, hoping they won't fall in love with the same one you do. And everything is so manicured. They don't naturally come in that shape. It's a bit odd.
Still, it's way better than driving up to a lot and scanning the wrapped up bundles until finally pointing to one and declaring - sure, that blob is good enough! There's something about doing the work yourself, and spending all of that time, sweat, frustration and energy, that makes putting a dead tree in your living room somewhat more satisfying. You worked hard for that bundle of branches and pine needles that you'll be finding months from now in the bottom of a pocket or inexplicably the corner of the bathroom.
So last Sunday, Tom and I traveled about an hour outside of Boston to drive down narrow, winding roads in unfamiliar towns. You could tell we were getting close when all the cars coming towards us had trees on their roofs. And then cars littered the side of the road, as families and dogs walked the rest of the distance.
Unsure of what we were doing, we followed the crowds. It seemed like everyone else knew what they were doing except for us. Luckily a kind woman took pity on Tom and pointed us in the right direction where we were given a saw and a sled. Had there been snow on the ground, we may have had to take a detour for some sledding, but it was actually an oddly sunny and not very Christmas-like day. I almost question the jackets and hats we were wearing in pictures because it looks so nice out. You'll have to take my word for it that it at least felt cold and wintry while we were out there.
We did a good job at restraining ourselves while we were out there. It's so easy to get carried away and declare that the 9 foot beast in front of you would be the perfect size for your small living room. It's a mistake I've made before, so this year we carefully measured (with Tom as our yard stick) and found a small cutie that would fit perfectly in our cozy living room. Since we're spending the next few months practicing living minimally and not going overboard, it seemed perfect for us.
So Tom got busy freeing the tree so it could come home with us. Having never attempted this before, he was determined to figure it out and show that bundle of pine needles who was boss. While he was hard at work, I was too - documenting the process! At one point Tom asked me to come over and lend some support so that nothing would fall on him once the saw was through the trunk. Which I did, after a few more pictures :)
Once it was freed, I took over making sure that it was cleaned up enough to fit into our tree stand and fit ample presents and curious kittens underneath. This is a step I've forgotten in past year, and trust me when I say it's soooo worth it to make sure you cut off a few extra branches at the bottom to leave space. You'll thank me later when you're crawling under to try and water it at 9pm, when all you want to do is go to sleep, and you're trying to avoid getting pine needles up your nose.
I realize that it won't always be practical for us to be able to cut our own tree down every year, but I think we've decided that as long as it's a feasible option, our preference would be to do so. We just need to work on our tree to car tying skills. And by work on, I mean we have none. While the tree did make it back to our apartment still attached, there was quite some debate over whether it actually would or not. We may have taken back roads home and driven super slow the whole time. And watched it through the sunroof, ready to grab it at a moments notice. It might be time to invest in some bungee cords or something. There's got to be an easier way than passing string back and forth a million times until it's "close enough" or we run out of string.
Anyway, here's our tiny beauty who will be sharing our home with us for the next couple of months:
She's a bit more dressed up now (although still missing ornaments... some day!)
Do you cut your own Christmas tree, or buy one from a lot?
Or are you one of those "pull it out from the basement and assemble it" types of people?