I have news, It's December already! Not just December, mind you, but the month is more than half over and there is less than a week until Christmas.
Every year it sneaks up on me, but this year Christmas was especially sneaky. It's been 15 years since I had a two year old, and now, out of the blue, we have one again, and quite honestly, I'm fifteen years older than I was back then. I forgot just how much time and attention one tiny little bundle of energy can demand, and did I mention, I'm fifteen years older now?
So anyway, we finally got a Christmas Tree. Now, I'm not one for putting up a tree the day afterThanksgiving anyway, I like "real" trees, and if you put one up too early, by Christmas you have a scratchy, brittle, fire hazard sitting in your living room. When you do that, the safest thing to do is to take it outside Christmas day along with the wrapping paper. But I do like to have a tree up by about two weeks before Christmas.
This year though, time just flew by and we realized that if we didn't hurry and get one, we would be putting it up Christmas Morning.
There are a whole bunch of places around to buy a tree. All of the big box hardware stores sell them, and there are several tree lots in the area. The Kiwanis aren't selling them this year. In the past we bought from them, because they had nice trees, reasonable prices, and I knew that at least a portion of what we paid would be used for community service projects.
But this year, None of the local service organizations had lots.
So, we went to a commercial lot, a Michigan Tree Farm, that has a local lot.
As soon as we walked on the lot we saw a trailer. The trailer still had a price tag on it and was obviously a loaner/rental from one of the local RV places, no problem, locals helping locals, I can dig it. A young guy came out of a trailer and greeted us, then was quick to put down the Black Hills Spruce that we usually get, He explained that they are not very good trees, and we wouldn't be happy with one. (that's what we had the last three years and we loved them!) He also pointed out that the Black Hills Spruce were the lowest priced trees he had, at $35 each, and he highly recommended a Frazier Fir, which started at $50 and went up from there.
And, no they don't take plastic, only cash. (Get real people, this is the 21st century! If I can take plastic at my home, on Ebay, via paypal, than certainly any legitimate business can do it.)
OK, we looked at his trees. They were picked over, unattractive and overpriced. We were disappointed and went on our merry way, treeless.
Then we stopped at the local Bait Shop, which also sells trees. We were met outside by the owner, who told us it was wheel-and-deal day. Yippee! my favorite day of the week!
We found two trees we liked, Tree A was taller, fuller and prettier, and marked $40 Tree B was nice, but a little shorter, and was marked $30. I was all prepared to ask him to split the difference, when he surprised us by offering us Tree A for $20.
I remember when $25 bought the most expensive tree on the lot. As a matter of fact, when I was in high school, trees routinely sold for $1.50 per foot, so a 6 foot tree was less than $10.
When did Christmas Trees become such a high dollar commodity?
So, now everyone is happy. The bait shop guy has one less tree that will go unsold this year. We have a Christmas tree, and even undecorated, unlit, just standing in the living room in the stand it made the little princess's eyes light up, and we didn't have to pay the gross national product of a lesser developed country to get it.
Not to mention, guess who will be the first place we check with next year?
You would think that the big box stores, with their high falutin' business ideas, and college educated management would realize by now the value of customer loyalty.
For now, though, I'm just going to sit here and enjoy the smell of a fresh Christmas tree, one of my favorite parts of this season.