The Time We Cut Down Our Christmas Tree

Cutting down your own Christmas tree always sounded like such a great tradition. I could see why several articles I read referred to it as “good sustainable family fun.”

Several of my friends have cut their Christmas tree down every year, and they have told me so many wonderful stories about how much fun it is and what a great bonding experience it is for the family. They say it’s way better than the ”lazy man’s way” of going to a local stand and picking one up – you know, where they do everything for you.
Cutting down our own tree was definitely on the top of my list for things I wanted to do, and I happened to know the ideal place to get one.
Living in Maine, we are not far from a beautiful tree farm with miles and miles of evergreen trees. One can find a tree in about every shape and size imaginable. I was certain it was going to be so great, picking out our tree on a mild, sunny, winter day – leisurely sipping cider, strolling around the farm, with our children, cozy in their matching wool mittens and hats. This was going to be our new family tradition.
Before we went on our expedition, I did some research about all the different ways you can cut down your a Christmas tree. I was surprised to find out there were so many different ways to go about getting your tree. What the articles didn’t say is that only one of them is good.
The day came when we were to begin our new family tradition. My husband announced that it would be a good idea to leave by 3:00, for reasons that would later become obvious. I assured him that we didn’t need to be on a schedule and that we had plenty of time.
Somehow, the day got away from me and it was well past 3:00. Before we had even left the house, It started to snow. We jumped in the car quickly, knowing we now might be dealing with weather- weather we had not been expecting. As we were driving, I turned around to see that not one of my kids was dressed appropriately for winter. Ughhhh! They weren’t wearing warm jackets, not one of them was wearing winter boots, and there was not a sign of mittens or hats. How typical, I thought. It began to snow harder.
After driving aimlessly, because I left the directions at home, we finally rolled into the farm just after 4:00. At this point, the snow was really coming down, and it was beginning to get dark. I figured we could leave “whenever” and be just fine.
By the time we got through the line, it was 4:30. Once again, my poor time management skills were getting the better of us. Admittedly, my husband had been right, we should have let by 3:00. I knew what he what he was thinking at this point, and I knew he was justified.
The snow fell down heavier and heavier. The wind gusted. The fresh snow mixed with the dirt to create a huge sloppy mess. There were streams of water flowing everywhere from the two days of rain that had come before.
We began trudging through six inches of mud – totally unequipped for the conditions – no hats and mittens, no boots and to make matters worse, two of my boys announced they didn’t bother to wear socks. Somehow, I was not surprised. As for my daughter, she was dressed for early fall and that’s giving her the benefit of the doubt, dressed in a light weight denim jacket and new 200 dollar UGG boots which are NOT waterproof by the way.
The wind had picked up even more now and the snow was blowing straight in our faces. There wasn’t a tree in sight, of course, there were trees there, it was a tree farm. With zero visibility, we couldn’t see any of them.
As we got two-thirds of the way out (finally), we turned around and realized our 9-year-old, Sam, was not with us. I knew finding him would be a small miracle. The snow was coming down like crazy and it was pitch dark. I wanted to scream.
With Sam’s disabilities, he was unable to walk through the mud. By some miracle my husband found him all the way back at the farm, just standing there frozen in one spot – another incident that was definitely going to compromise our parent of the year nomination.
My husband tried to get Sam to go with him but Sam was not about to move- not one inch. He was freezing-cold and unwilling to budge. My husband had no choice but to carry him. Sam in one arm, the big jagged saw in the other. Not at all the Norman Rockwell image I had imagined – more like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and we were the Griswolds.
Struggling to make it back out to the field in hopes of spotting some tree to cut down, any tree, I thought about the beautiful stories my friends had told me about cutting down their Christmas tree. It occurred to me they all had been lies.
At this point, we weren’t worried about finding the perfect tree. Any tree would do. Grabbing on to the first one in our sight, my husband began t o saw; still holding Sam, he sawed and sawed. He sawed at that damn tree for what seemed like hours. “My feet are wet,” “My hands are cold” “I want to go home,” the kids said over and over again. They were complaining; they were miserable; and I was complaining because my recently salon-styled hair was now a frizzy mess. There was nothing about the experience that even remotely mimicked “good sustainable family fun” and no bonding would ever occur as a result of this experience.
We were in the middle of a snowstorm with no end in sight. My husband just kept sawing and sawing, but the tree still wasn’t going anywhere. At that the point, I told him just to cut off the top and call it a day.
I could now understand the Grinch’s perspective. This experience was right up there with one of the worst ideas I have ever had. It would officially be filed under the category of “Christmas tree cutting gone wrong.”
Needless to say, this year, we will be getting our tree, the “lazy man’s way,” from the nice little farm stand at the end of the street – the one where they do everything for you!

3 thoughts on “The Time We Cut Down Our Christmas Tree

  1. I love this! We cut our tree down just about every year but last year our Michigan winter was awful. We drove to the lot that the fire department had. It was snowing and so unbelievably cold. We jumped out, grabbed one of the first trees that we saw, threw it in the back of the truck, paid and took off. It was so cold I wouldn’t have had it any other way. This year we cut our tree down. Winter has been mild here and we enjoyed a sunny day with no snow!! Just luck of the draw I guess. Visiting from Mom2Mom linkup.


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