Shopping for a Christmas tree is serious business. Lin likes getting a tree early, so it can be enjoyed all season long. We've chopped down our own trees in the past at Christmas tree farms, but being in an urban setting as we are now, it's easier to find a local nursery with a Christmas tree lot.
Choosing the right tree requires lots of patience since everyone has to agree that it's the right tree. It's almost a sacred ritual ... except when the temp is below freezing, then the sacred aspect is overtaken by the fact we're freezing our butts off and the decision-making process can, on occasion, suffer a bit.
Christmas trees trace their roots to pagan customs, as do many of our seasonal rituals. Long before Christianity adopted the custom, the evergreen was a symbol of life eternal in the midst of the dark days of winter and the cold and snow. The decorated Christmas tree can be traced back to the ancient Romans. They decorated trees with small pieces of metal during Saturnalia, a winter festival in honor of Saturnus, the god of agriculture.
So what's our criteria for buying a tree. Well, first of all, it's got to be real. No pink, turquoise or flocked snow, and no artificial trees allowed. No Charlie Brown trees. It's got to be tall … but not too tall. It's got to be full … but not fat. There must be no bare spots. It must be shaped beautifully … but maybe have a flatter side, so it fits nicely against the wall or window. The top of the tree has to be perfectly formed to accommodate the single gold star we mount there. The trunk has to fit into the existing Christmas tree stand.
Despite the below freezing temps and the strict criteria, we managed to find the perfect tree, a fine Balsam fir, along with lots of other greenery in about 30 minutes.
We brought it home, set it in its stand, gave it a big drink of water and let it sit overnight to relax in its new home. Decorating will come later.