Happy Tree Day

December 12, 2010 at 6:11 am 3 comments

Yesterday was Christmas Tree Day at my house. Probably my favorite part of the holiday season. In honor of this sacred, beautiful, annual life-preserving, and often ornery rizzle-fratzen ritual, a few tips:

1. First thing, don’t think about the price. Just take a deep breath, put a wad of cash in your wallet for a tree, and think no more of it.

2.  Inspect the tree’s trunk, top to bottom. Avoid those with a big bend.

3. If you can clearly see the tree’s trunk, top to bottom, to know for certain if there is a bend or split or other oddity, look for another tree that has more branches and cross your fingers about straightness.

4. You will never find a perfect tree but you will always find a perfect tree. This is a rule of Christmas magic and ornament camouflage. (So, you know, just pick a tree, any tree. It’ll be okay.)

5. Conversely—and critically—not every tree stand is a beautiful thing. No matter how much effort, patience, sweat, or cuss words you put into it, there is, and I cannot emphasize this enough, no single thing more important to maintaining the joy of Tree Day than your choice of Christmas tree stand. With 40-plus years of experience in this matter, which include (1) all the years of watching my Dad’s legs sticking out from under the tree as he patiently turned those three stupid screws with the rest of us shouting contradictory directions from strategic vantage points around the living room; (2) the year the tree fell on me, muting my happy caroling, squashing my naivete, and suffocating the joy of my first tree in my first apartment, which kept falling until I managed to rig it with a nearby wire hanger and my belt to hold the goddamn thing upright; and (3) the years I had my first gadget stand, which required an engineering degree, four hands, the strength of a long-haired Samson, a screw driver, a mallet, plus some fishing line nailed to the wall just in case, I completely and enthusiastically, yes, fanatically, recommend the Krinner Click Fix Tree Stand.  Seriously. Your tree will be up, straight, and solidly standing without loss of blood or goodwill in about 15 seconds. No lie.

6. Christmas carols on the stereo are the perfect accompaniment for tree decorating. It is often the first time I will listen to these annual spirit soaring tunes. I recommend you get the potentially annoying stuff (stand, lights, and 104 trips to the sink for water) out of the way before you hit play.

7. Trees look smaller and shorter in the outdoors. Keep in mind that it is highly unlikely that your own height has changed since you left your house.

8. Tip the Tree Guy. Yes, the tree purchase is a very fleeting connection with a total stranger, and, despite tip #1, you just paid for the tree, so that price may be niggling at your brain a bit, but tip the Tree Guy. I don’t know if this is expected or common practice, but it’s what my Dad taught me. And, I love the Tree Guys. No matter what this person is like elsewhere, when helping me get my tree, he is chivalrous and strong. And his smile and handshake and friendliness in the purchase decision are sincere. If a Tree Guy, while on one knee, in the mud, connecting that bungee cord under the bumper of my car, looked up and proposed to me, I would say yes. (But, you know, I’m guessing he’d rather have the tip.)

9. I recommend that you buy a tree bag when you get the tree. Most tree places have them at the cash register area. They’ll help dramatically minimize needles on the floor and make it a lot easier to remove the tree when the holidays are over.

10. I recommend that you remember to position the tree bag under the tree before you do all the decorating.

 So, have faith, have patience, have a sense of humor, and have a Happy Tree Day.

 And, to those special few who celebrate it, today I also wish you Happy Alexmas! Happy Birthday, buddy.

Entry filed under: Humor - Commentary. Tags: , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ruth  |  December 13, 2010 at 3:39 am



  • 2. WritingbyEar  |  December 16, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Sadly, the last real Christmas tree I bought was the hopelessly crooked one I flung out the sliding doors soon after I brought it home, onto what would have been the deck if we had already built the deck in our new house. Instead it landed in a heap a few feet below, with me grumbling good riddance to the tree, but not the $$ it cost. I’ve gone the artificial route since, but LOVE LOVE LOVE when other people don’t. Yours looks lovely.


  • 3. Alice  |  December 20, 2010 at 1:54 am

    Beth…I LOVE this post and can relate to every single aspect…..only thing I would add is make sure the Cat is locked in a closet until you are done.:) ..the tree is lovely….Merry Christmas Alice



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