Bringing Home a Live Christmas Tree was Harder than I Expected
by Jill Printzenhoff
“This is not a good idea,” I said while gripping the steering wheel and staring at the icy hill.
“Mom! Turn around!” my oldest demanded.
Although I absorbed her words, my stubbornness had kicked in a few miles back. I had no plans to turn around. Still, the thought of landing in a ditch nagged at me.
“You remember how this vehicle worked on that college visit last winter!”
“I know! I know!” The ice crunched under the tires as we inched forward. My brain replayed the last snowy day adventure. “How much further?”
“I don’t know. The GPS isn’t working,” she said.
Visions of sliding off the road and walking miles back home for the other car flowed through my mind. If we have to vacate the vehicle . . .
“MOM!” My oldest grabbed my attention as she escalated her petition for me to turn around.
Forging ahead, the battle between my stubbornness, reality, and the what-if scenarios continued as I maneuvered the slick road and descended a hill.
Finally, we came to the end of the road. “Which way?”
“There’s a sign. Take a left.”
I edged the vehicle forward about 100 yards then stopped in the middle of the road. We stared at the ominous hill. “That’s it! We’re done! If we go down that hill we won’t make it back up. Sorry girls, but this tree isn’t worth that risk!”
“Hey, Mom!” There’s the entrance to the tree farm. And it’s right before the hill!”
I breathed a sigh of relief. That was the place we’d been looking for.
As we pulled into the gravel lot and parked the car, an elderly man sauntered over to greet us. “You here for a tree?”
“Yes sir,” I said while working my jaw to unclench my teeth.
He tilted his head. “You want a Blue Spruce or a Douglas Fir?”
The tension still knotted my muscles, but I smiled anyway. “We want a Blue Spruce.”
He handed me a map of the farm and pointed us in the general direction. “You need a saw?”
“No thanks. We brought our own.” I grabbed the saw and the girls grabbed a tree cart.
We passed a jovial family.
My girls giggled and posed for photos.
Stomping through the snow helped release some of my pent up anxiety from the slippery trek to the farm.
With my sense of adventure squashed we did not go far into the trees before we chose our target. The evergreen was surrounded by a foot of snow; a new reality punched through my brain. I have to kneel in the snow to cut this tree. My legs are gonna get soaked!
I made a mental note: Next time, bring a tarp or a blanket to protect my legs.
Grabbing the prickly trunk the needles slid their way through my winter gloves and stabbed my hands. Another mental note: Next time, bring work gloves.
I yanked the saw from the scabbard and attempted to etch a notch in the tree. The saw did not cooperate. I tried again. The saw moved forward then stopped. Forcing it backwards barely put a gouge in the tree trunk. “Great. This thing is dull!”
Changing my position in an attempt to sever the tree from its trunk did not help. The sawing was slow going. I worked for a while and then let the girls take a turn.
“Hey Mom. Why didn’t we just borrow a saw from the tree guy?”
“Didn’t know they furnished saws, so I brought my own. Just didn’t know it was dull.”
A new mental note: Next time, bring a sharpened saw. Or, borrow a saw from the Christmas tree guy. Better yet, borrow his and bring my own as a back up.
After about twenty minutes we finally hacked through the tree and got it on the tree cart. Swerving down the hill to the cashiers stand, our next hurdle was putting the tree into my vehicle. Since we could not get it on the roof of the car, it had to go inside.
The man watched as we pushed, pulled, tugged, repositioned, and strained to get the prickly tree locked in place. Sweating and out of breath I had an epiphany and added another item to my mental notes: Next time, bring a trailer.
“Uh, Mom, where am I going to sit?” asked my youngest.
I stared at the voluminous tree now residing in the back of the vehicle. “That’s a good question . . .” My thoughts drifted to next Christmas. Next time, make sure there’s enough room in the vehicle for everyone to return home with you once you get the tree.
Where had I gone wrong? I thought chopping down a live tree and getting it back home would be easy. It wasn’t. Bringing home a live tree was harder than I expected.
The events in this story took place two years ago. Last year we did not have a live Christmas tree. Maybe we procrastinated and ran out of time. Maybe we remembered the struggles from the previous year and decided to forgo the live tree. Who knows! This year, though, we plan to once again chop down a real tree to go in our front room. But this year . . . this year will be different. This year we will be prepared, because this year we will check my list to ensure we have the necessary tools. This year bringing home a live tree will be easier . . . I think.
It’s your turn. What is a Christmas related task you thought would be easy, but turned out to be more challenging than you expected?
Join the conversation and share your stories. I look forward to reading each one.
Merry Christmas ~ Jill P