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Monday, December 16, 2013

Oh Cranky Tree, Oh Cranky Tree - a cranky re-run

Oh Cranky Tree, Oh Cranky Tree
This re-run is from December 2012 

Mrs. C and I will not have a Christmas Tree in our house this year.  Oh I still love Christmas Trees.  For me they officially start the season.  I guess we are getting just old enough where we can start the season with other people’s trees. 

I have gone through the Christmas tree evolution. It starts with enthusiastically picking and decorating a tree every year, and ends with throwing an ornament on a ficus plant and calling it a day.

When I was a young man, and the children of the house demanded a tree, getting the tree was a tradition and a production.  In the earliest years, we bought a cut tree from the mall parking lot.  Size was of utmost importance, a seven foot tree was the goal.  The branches had to be of perfect length and shape, and there must not be any bare spots.  Finding this perfect tree often took well over an hour.

Once chosen, it was another production putting the tree up.   It seems it went in the same room every year, but only after trying it out in several other rooms first.  Getting the tree to stand perfectly straight was near impossible as any bend in the trunk would throw it off straight from at least one view point.
Finally after decorating the tree it’s beauty could be enjoyed…until the needles began their inevitable decent to the floor as no matter how much it was watered, even with the fresh cut to the bottom and a daily dose of aspirin the tree was nearly bare of needles by Three Kings Day when decorations come down.

One year my wife had the brilliant idea of using a live tree.  A local tree farm would sell live trees for the price of a cut tree, as long as you dug it out yourself.

Shovel in hand we went off to the farm, found a suitable tree and commenced to dig it out, saving the roots in a large ball wrapped in burlap.  Do you know how much a balled live tree weighs?  I’m going to guess about 175 pounds and it is all distributed in one place.  Getting that tree to the car, then out and in the house, and finally after trying the usual rooms settling in the same place the tree always went, my back was shot. 

The advantage of the live tree was it would not lose its needles and after Three Kings Day we would plant it in the back yard where it would grow and fill in a naked spot.

Turns out that to keep a tree alive over the winter you need to dig a large hole in the place you intend to eventually plant it.  If you do not dig that hole before the ground freezes your tree will not survive the winter.

 I did not dig a hole in the back before the ground froze. 

Our live tree did not make it to spring. 

Every time I bend over and my back sends an electric shock down my leg I think about that friggin tree.

We now have an artificial tree.  It is in a box in the basement.  It is a pain in the ass to put together.  It is a pain in the ass to take it down and put it back in the box.  This year it is staying in the box.

My son has a beautiful tree.


  1. My sentiments exactly. I LOVE Christmas trees. Big, tall, ornately decorated trees. In other people's houses. :)


  2. Great post. You've inspired me to tell the tale of the year we bought our one and only live tree. Take care.

  3. We've always had a Christmas tree but this year I'm too decrepit (it's hard to remember when I WAS crepit) to decorate--& later, un-decorate--it. I put stuffed Santas around the house, but I miss that tree!!

  4. i LOVE Your blog.. I will be a regular from now on!!

  5. Well, look at you, Clark Griswold, going to the tree farm to capture a live tree! I hope a squirrel didn't jump out of yours once you set it up in the house.

  6. I really prefer taking a long hike to the tree farm and cutting my own tree but Queenie finds this far too stressful to find 'just the right tree' so we had to convert to an artificial a couple years back. I hear you about putting that nasty thing together every year, I found a corner where we can store it in one piece the rest of the year so we don't have to wrestle it apart then back together again.

  7. I like to look at already decorated trees ! I did not realize that they are so much work. I guess good things come at a price.