Hunting and Gathering for Christmas

December 7, 2009

Cut down our own tree we must!

It's not exactly man vs. nature, but I enjoy it. We enjoy it. This is our family tradition.

We bundle up (most years, at least - we chose an unusually warm day to pick one this year, and went in short sleeves). We get into the car. We drive to the Christmas Tree farm. We get out of the car.

I grab a saw, and we board a tractor for a ride to the outer reaches of the tree-growing plantation. To the Firs...

Picking the perfect tree is simple, in my view: you select one of the first three you spot. No need to dawdle.

My wife feels quite the opposite. She is keener on making sure she is not missing out on some other tree that is sooooo much better, so she scans through dozens of saplings.

My children just want the sawing to begin, already.

The boy insists on holding the tree up as I place the blade onto the bottom of the trunk. It is important to me to saw as closely to the ground as possible. Why? I don't know. Maybe for drama's sake.

The daughter and mom stand watch. Here we go.

This is when the whole episode becomes the most exciting for daddy. The goal is to saw the tree off of its trunk in five seconds flat. Rarely, if ever, is this accomplished. But the frantic thrusting of the blade back and forth sure makes me feel like I'm doing something really difficult.

Let's say a good minute goes by…whew, getting tired... is it done yet? Have to switch the sawing hand.

Aha! The tree is freed at last!

We move back, the tree falls to the ground. Needles splash to the Earth. Time to drag and pay.

Yes, drag. Now we're getting into the more primal instincts of a father's psyche. I prefer to drag our Christmas Tree all the way back to the parking lot - as if I had just slain a small mastodon. Ooga ooga. Me have meal. Gunga gunga.

Riding the tractor back seems too easy when you're bringing home prehistoric game (I mean evergreens).

The tree is shaken for loose needles (and animals!), it is roped and wrapped, it is tied to our car, and we are off. The job for our children is to keep watching through the sunroof to make sure it's still up there throughout the car ride.

We get home, I jam it into the stand, I straighten it out, I place the angel on the top, and…

Well, my wife and children take care of decorating the rest. My work is done. Time for me to rest.

Yet another primal instinct, I guess. Sleep after hard work. Ooga ooga.

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