I prefer live Christmas trees. Cleaning up pine needles is a small price to pay for the scent of the fresh pine that fills the air. The scent creates the possibility of magic and miracles. I have to sweep and vacuum regardless, tree or no tree. The real pain in the butt is getting the tree in the stand straight and securely while holding onto the trunk with one hand and tightening the screws with the other.
Finding the perfect tree is easy. My rule is simple: If it doesn’t fit in the car, it won’t fit in the house. (I have a Mary Poppins-type car.)
One year, I was appraising what I thought was the perfect-sized tree from all sides when a young family came along and their 5-year-old daughter exclaimed that she had found the tree she wanted — mine.
The girl had an excellent eye for perfect Christmas trees.
The father tried explaining that they probably couldn’t get that tree, but she was insistent that this was THE tree. The father glanced at me with a look that said “I’ve been to 5 lots and I’m tired of looking at trees.” so I let them have it. I could find another.
The remaining trees on the lot, however, were too tall. The tree lot guy reminded me that the purchase included one free cut. So I found one that I liked and had him cut two feet off the bottom to make it right-sized. And he let me take as many discarded branches as I wanted for my fresh fir arrangements.
A friend of mine gets a live, burlap-wrapped tree each year which they then plant in their yard in the spring. Their driveway is lined with trees from Christmases past. One year the hubby brought home a tree which would fit quite nicely in their house. However, they have a very old house and the size of the root ball was too large to fit through the door. The tree had to remain outside.
When I was very young and we lived in The City, we’d go see the tree in Rockefeller Center. From my viewpoint, it appeared to touch the sky. It was glorious.
We had family friends who liked very large trees. The larger, the better was their motto for Christmas trees. They wanted it to literally fill the room. One year there was a tree in their living room that was at least seven feet wide at the base. When we looked up, the top of the tree was missing.
They would tell guests (especially children) that the tree grew through the ceiling and the rest of the tree was on the second floor — along with the angel topper.
It was a magnificent tree. It took up most of the room. Their very own Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. And it reminded me of when trees were tall and I was small.
I always thought that if logistics were right (and I had a lot of help), I’d like to have a tree that could be cut so that the base could be placed downstairs, and the top upstairs. Why be restricted by ceiling heights?
That’s the magic of live Christmas trees. Because there’s a 5-year-old inside all of us at Christmas time.
The true limitation is ensuring the base of the tree fits through the front door — and then anchoring it to the baseboards with twine and hardware so it doesn’t fall.