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The Tree Search

The Tree Search

December 4, 2007

The Search for the Elusive Tree

It was 15 degrees outside and therefore the perfect temperature to go searching for a Christmas tree, like the rest of the Christmas celebrating, tree chopping down, don’t care about the environment, put the tree too early, buy into the mass consumerism, unenlightened world. Oh wait, I think the last one was only directed at me. But feel free to apply it to yourself if you want.

We have been going to the same place for 12 years. They don’t have the nicest looking trees. They aren’t trimmed up to perfection. They are like the wild tree farm, if there were such a thing.

Every year the pickings get slimmer and slimmer. We wonder how much longer the little tree place will be there. They charge $70 less, yes LESS, than the other local tree places. But most people like to grab their perfect trees off of a wooden stand and have someone else drag it and tie to their roof. We, on the other hand, have to bring our own saw. And yes we do feel smugly superior about it.

tagging the tree

We tie a tag with our name printed on it in black Sharpie marker. Explain to the children that no, we can not move someone else’s tag off of their tree and put our tag on it. Yes, even if their tree is nicer than the one we picked. It is short and fat, but maybe this year we can fit the angel on the top of the tree without her leaning over like Quasimodo.

our tree

We hug the tree and say goodbye. We will come back for it next weekend.

My oldest son wants it known that he wore this hat, gloves, and had his coat zipped under duress. Really he is much to cool to do any of those things. But I forced him because 15 degrees could make your ears and fingertips fall off.

Dammit I am way too busy to be running people to the emergency room. And Lord knows, the rest of the free world is probably already there.

Posted by Chris @ 10:22 am  

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  1. Lizzy in the Burbs says:

    What great pictures! Looks like you all had an enjoyable time despite the cold temps. Pretty tree, too! It’s probably not too small, it’s always so much bigger when you put it in the house. Ours usually resembles a bowling ball, never looks that round until it’s in my living room! Your older son looks great with his hat and coat zipped, wish I could get my two to zip theirs. (or actually WEAR theirs) Since when did wearing a coat make you un-cool? I don’t get it!

  2. Michelle says:

    My boys do the same things with their coats. I don’t get it. It is freezing out, but how on Earth could I possible expect them to wear a hat?? They even went as far as unzipping the ones that came on their coats and “losing” them!

  3. Marie in St Paul says:

    My daughter is 10 1/2 and still willingly wears her snow pants to school, despite teasing from her peers. We had a nice snowfall this past weekend (6″) and she was quite smug that after recess yesterday, she was one of the only kids whose pants were dry! I’m hoping that she remains practical at least for another school year, until she enters 7th grade (when there is no recess).

    I guess there is one other kid who wears appropriate weather gear in her age group, but he wears a full on snow suit. My daughter thought THAT was weird.

  4. Common Mom says:

    I love your photos - what fun to go pick a tree! We HAVE to go to the forest tree hunting - I just can’t bring myself to get a tree from a lot. We pay $10 to the forest service for a permit to chop down a tree. Then we drive 40 minutes up into the mountains to the “Christmas Tree Cutting Area” - yes, they actually have an area. It’s an area that needs to be thinned . . . and you can only cut trees that are 6″ or less in diameter. And no topping - HUGE fines if you’re caught topping. Because they are wild forest trees, they are not very full, but it sure is fun to hike around the forest and pick your own tree and haul it home. And the MONSTER sledding hill right before we leave the Tree Area is a blast!

  5. Karen Vogel says:

    70 dollars less? I’m trying to understand what that statement means. Does that mean there are lunatics out there that pay more than a hundred dollars for a Christmas tree? Why? Don’t you have a Home Depot up there? We get ours for 20 dollars. And really, the experience is the same (we visited a tree farm once when we were in Rhode Island) - you walk up and down rows of trees, freezing to death (Home Depot keeps theirs outside), and argue about which one is best. Only we don’t get to chop ours down at the store. But, for 20 dollars, that’s okay.

  6. Katie says:

    Gee I didn’t realize how much fun I was missing because we pull our (artificial) tree out of a plastic bin every year.

  7. Chris says:


    YES, you read that correctly. I can’t think of one place that sells a tree for $20. Even the HD.


    A part of me would really like an artificial tree. The part that hates to vacuum up needles for 6 months and never remembers to water the poor thing

  8. OMSH says:

    I want the wee little tree. That’d be perfect for a warm little nook in my house. PERFECT.

    Tell your son he is mighty handsome all bundled up and that he shouldn’t fret. Frostbite is sooooo not attractive. About as attractive as gangrene or brown recluse spider bites.

  9. Sunny says:

    Tell your son that my mom makes me wear stuff like ponchos made from old secondhand wool blankets, he don’t have it so bad.

  10. diane says:

    In Massachusetts we had snow yesterday and no school. My oldest walked to the bank — sneakers, no socks and shorts . . . he did have on a coat and a baseball hat? He was surprised a few people honked their horns. To be soo cool at 13.

  11. Rechelle says:

    What is it with sons and the reluctance to properly bundle for cold weather? I had my son run into a store the other day to return a video. He had a jacket on in the car, but had to TAKE IT OFF to go into the video store. He was THAT afraid of being sighted with a coat on.

  12. fidget says:

    I’m confused about the part where you leave the tree there for a week?? You’ll have to forgive my ignorance but around here a tree farm grows palm trees….

  13. Esther says:

    I just found your blog today, and i LOVE it! I laughed so hard at your “thousands of hillbillies can’t be wrong” photo opportunity. Hilarious!

    I have five children (two newly adopted in September). I’m looking for more large family blogs. Could you please email me if you know any? Thanks so very much, and nice job on your blog ;o)


  14. Salsaqueen says:

    OK, at almost 1/2 century old, I remember what it was like as a teenager to be too cool to wear a jacket on cold days. Surely I’m not the only one!! No mittens or hats required in Florida, but we do have the occasional cool enough for a jacket day.

  15. BOSSY says:

    Bossy concurs — a sure sign of maturity must be giving it up to hats and gloves.

  16. Ginny says:

    Fortunately good sense can return. My 15.5 year old boy finally conceded to the temperature change and requested a new coat– underneath he wears a hoodie and at least carries his hat & gloves stashed in his coat. And actually wears them sometimes, I hope, I hope! You need to be warm when you’re hanging out in front of Starbucks. Endlessly.

  17. RuthWells says:

    I’ve been telling my boys for months that they have used up their emergency-room visit allowance for 2007 (3 visits between them). It has a surprisingly postive affect on compliance with regard to things like wearing warm clothes and not leaping from the furniture.

  18. Jennifer says:

    $70 Less than other places? What an earth makes them worth that much? I live in Western MA not far from the CT border and the beautiful tree we chopped down ourselves only cost us $50 (maybe you should take a drive our way next year).

  19. Sue says:

    It does look like fun. Well, kind of. We actually did something similar when we lived in the USA (Colorado Springs) for two years, back when our boys were small. Only I stayed at home and kept warm :) We had enough snow in those years to last us a lifetime.

  20. Heather's Garden says:

    My 17-year-old step-son bundled up on Sunday in a skull cap, hoodie with the hood up, and a light ski jacket, but he refused gloves — gloves are not cool. Never mind that you can’t feel the steering wheel as you drive and you’re just going from our house to your mom’s house, gloves are not cool!

    Thus far the live potted tree experiment has limited watering needs and needles dropped. Provided I give it a good soak once a week, I think we’ll make it through the Christmas season in decent shape. Check out my post today about our Christmas traditions, and give us more of yours. I do so envy you small children who still believe in Santa and want gifts other than money!

  21. hollygee says:

    Then again, I notice that Dad is sans hat and gloves. Where could they learn it?

    I’ve bought a tiny little rosemary tree. I’m not going to be able to stand it in the house, it is so strongly scented, but it will look pretty lit up on our porch.

  22. Karen says:

    When I lived near Boulder we drove up a bit into the mountains (not far, just a bit) and paid I think $15 for a short hike to find a tree. My kids always choose a slightly sad tree, because who else will take it home and love it?

    Age 12 = I am too cool to wear hats/gloves/a coat, at least, apparently, in my house. It’s like somebody flipped a switch, took away my little boy, and left this tall bershon boy-man in his place.


  23. MarysMom says:

    And I thought when they get older they’ll have more sense about having their coats zipped and hat and gloves on…

  24. kalisah says:

    OMG my 14-y-o son is the SAME WAY. Of course, we live in Memphis so it doesn’t get down to 15 all that often. Still, even in the low-30s and high 20s, he REFUSES to wear anything but a pullover hoodie sweatshirt. He won’t wear the hood, of course, but he will wear knit caps if he’s selected them himself. God forbid I should buy him one that wasn’t “cool.”

  25. Mommy mommy says:

    I have that same fight daily with my oldest ( who is only 6). So does that mean that they don’t decide to zip up, and wear their gloves and hats on their own anytime soon?

  26. Amy says:

    i love seeing photos of your oldest and your youngest. it is so sweet!

  27. Chris says:

    I know my husband had on gloves, he took them off to tie the tag on the tree. And he did have his coat zipped.

    Not sure what happened to his hat. I shall scold him.

  28. Angela says:

    Your oldest is going to be a darn good daddy some day! And considering how much he looks like his daddy, he’s going to be a hottie daddy too! :D

  29. Kristi says:

    Where the heck are these places that charge only $20 for a tree? We usually pay between $40-$60. AND we ALWAYS get the one that most resembles a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. You know, one that is tall, skinny and uneven with lopsided and missing branches. They are my favorite.

  30. She Likes Purple says:

    Your kids are just gorgeous. And I curse our fake tree daily. I want a real one; one we killed ourselves. But no, we bought a fake, plastic, pre-lit tree from WAL-MART and it makes my husband happy and me want to cry.

  31. peepnroosmom says:

    Christmas trees are such a rip. Most people get one so they can charge whatever price they want for them. We get ours for anywhere from $45-$65 around here.
    What is it with teenage boys? my son tried to go to school with shorts and a t shirt on today. With no coat. And it was 34 outside. His reasoning was he would only be outside for a little while, he could stand it. (head shaking)

  32. Heather says:

    I live in Arizona and have also NEVER came across a real tree for $20 and trust me, the trees here should be priced at that because the poor things are all dried and pretty close to a fire hazard due to sitting outside in our lovely warm Christmas tree lots. I winced at your $70 dollars less statement. Wow.

    I had to laugh at your son not wanting to bundle up. I have the same problem here, just different climates. I had to convince my 10 year old that LOVES winter so much, that he didnt need to wear the sweater, scarf and hat to go grocery shopping last night in our bone chilling 75 degree weather.

  33. Brigitte says:

    It’s not just boys, I remember going around in an unzipped windbreaker in winter myself. Of course, no shivering or hunching shoulders is allowed either, because it might look like you’re actually feeling the cold, then.

    You have to shop trees in wooded, economically depressed areas. Here they run $20-60 (we go for the cheap end, ourselves). Some acquaintances sell $10 trees to friends last time I checked, but they’re sparsely limbed wild-grown trees. If I went another 45 minutes northeast of here, I could probably find some $15 trees.

  34. Girlymom4 says:

    So cute all bundled up! I like the look on your teen sons face- priceless. We are those people who buy the tree already cut. We used to cut our own, but C’mon it’s Michigan and it’s been freezing rain- with 4 kids under 6- no thanks. Thankfully we have a big truck and just toss it in there and go. This is a great time of year!

  35. Mary W says:

    My 12 year old has been too cool for a hatr coat and gloves for years now. Granted this is Texas, but my child is the one at the bus stop in shits and a sweater when it’s 30 degrees out.

    I am the mother telling said child that anything below 45 means he HAS to weaar pants - even if it will be 60 in the afternoon when he comes home

  36. CathyC says:

    Tell your son the 15 yr old in me feels his pain, but the mother that I am now agrees with his mother.

  37. Atlantagirl30021 says:

    Miles’ Jester hat may be the cutest thing I have ever seen. Really, about to pass out from the cuteness :)

  38. Lori says:

    I love that last one of your oldest and your youngest. That’s so sweet that the oldest SEEMS to love his little brother in the pictures. I’m sure he really does though, because, after all, who can’t love your youngest?