Bringing Home a Live Christmas Tree was Harder than I Expected

Bringing Home a Live Christmas Tree was Harder than I Expected

by Jill Printzenhoff

Live Tree Title.jpg

“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 . . .

Slick Roads 2.jpg

“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.

spruce tree.jpgAs 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.

Tree in Vehicle.jpgThe 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



4 thoughts on “Bringing Home a Live Christmas Tree was Harder than I Expected

  1. Jill. I loved your story. (I have been thinking a lot about you recently and wondered why I hadn’t read anything from you recently.) I’ve been pretty busy with my Docent training at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and haven’t been developing my stained glass blog for several months. I just opened a friend’s holiday letter today and she started it with a quote. I’m sure it is familiar to you, but I’ll send it along just because I want to share it with you. Have a beautiful Christmas with whatever you have to decorate. A loving family is the best. May all of you be blessed with the joy of the season and a rewarding 2018. Bruce

    Inspiration to send you at this holiday season:
    “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” –The Letter of Paul to the Philippians 4:8


    • Hi Bruce – Wow! Docent training. How cool is that! That sounds exciting. Good for you!

      I have missed reading your posts about stained glass, but I totally understand not being able to work on the blog due to other endeavors. Sometimes we have to step away for a bit in order to work on another project. That’s why I have not written in a few months. I’ve had back-to-back grad classes that have consumed most of my extra time. Now that I have a bit of a break, my goal is to jump back into writing for this blog.

      Thank you so much for reading my post, for your comments, and for including Paul’s address to the Philippians. That is a great reminder to all for every season, and I appreciate you including that in your note.

      Merry Christmas to you and yours ~ Jill


  2. Your adventure cracked me up! Everyone has got a tree story that’s memorable. Mine this season so far is rigging up the lights, ~ 4 different ways , 4 different times! Looked beautiful in the end!


    • Hi Sam – Thanks so much for stopping by the blog and for leaving a comment. Rigging up the lights are a challenge for sure. I’m glad you were successful in that endeavor. Merry Christmas to you and your family ~ Jill.


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