Every Christmas since I was born we’ve picked out our live Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. No matter where we lived throughout the years, this has been a family tradition and it is one tradition that I still hold on to. I don’t hold on to many traditions especially if they are ones that create unecessary stress in life. But fetching our Christmas tree is a fun activity for our family. Now one of our granddaughters is along for the journey each year.
The process of buying a live Christmas tree has been determined mainly by the state or country we reside in. When I lived in Hawaii, it was a trip to the department/grocery store to get the tree. There was mostly a slim selection but of course that does not matter as much in paradise. In Washington state we would drive to the mountains and choose our own tree to cut down, there they have the most beautiful evergreen trees in the world. In Utah we went to local tree farms where you chose your tree on a lot- but the tree was still rooted in the earth so they were very fresh trees. In Germany there was a huge festival and of course, Oh Tanenbaum was a huge deal! Here in South Florida it is Home Depot or the corner lots where different organizations sell Christmas trees trucked down here from North Carolina.
Here the choices are mostly Frazier firs with a few Nobel firs in between.
As we arrived at Home Depot you could feel the hussle and bussle of Christmas in the air. There was one young newlywed couple excited to be getting their first tree. There were families of all sizes from different walks of life all joined together for one reason, to choose their Christmas tree from the many stacked and tied up inside of an airy outdoor tent. Mostly the mother or the wife would be looking the trees up and down, judging whether the tree made the grade to come to their home. The husbands would hold up the trees and nod in agreement or shake their head in disaproval of the tree.
The trees are all tied up from the trip down here on trucks. In order to see what a tree really looked like, you ask the Home Depot employees to cut off the strings. If you did not like the tree, the worker simply tosses the tree into a pile of trees along the side of each makeshift section in the tent.
As we started walking from section to section we noticed there were a lot of trees that had been opened up and rejected. For years, the search for the perfect tree would take me some time. Many trees are bare in the spots where there is more shade as they are growing. So usually each tree has a not so appealing area. Most people were searching for the perfect tree and one of the criteria is that your tree should be full all the way around and not be flawed in any noticeable way. The stem that stands above the tree should be straight so that your star will fit nicely at the top.
This year was different for us and for the tree we chose. As we explained to the kids what we were looking for, we said that we did not wish to take all day to find the perfect tree and that was not what was important about Christmas or the tree. We noticed a tree that was being picked up and examined by multiple couples and families. Each time the tree was rejected and thrown back into the pile of unwanted trees.
The tree from outside of the section looked like a decent tree. What could be wrong with this tree? Was it so bad that no one would take this tree home?
Tristan noticed the tree as well. As Nestor held the tree up and the kids and I walked around the tree, as if in unison, the feelings were mutual… this tree needed a home too. As the decision to choose this tree was made, any imperfections suddenly melted into the natural beauty of an evergreen tree. We had chosen the tree that no one wanted and yet, it was the right tree for our family and our home.