8 o' clock rolled around and the idea of staying home—clad in pajamas and sheltered from the late November rain—sounded awfully good. Alas, I had scheduled the 2nd Annual Christmas Tree Chop, and even in my sleepy, warm condition, I recognized that I would regret a cancellation. With coffee & cocoa thermoses, a bag of mini donuts, and a brother who sharpened his hatchet just for the occasion, we set off.
Picking out the Christmas tree has always been my favorite act of the holiday season—more than Cookie Day, Christmas Eve dinner, or crafting my family's "Star Chart." Even now, knowing what I do about the (un)sustainability of commercial tree farming, I'm fully willing to acknowledge that it has always been a magical day. I have long prided myself on choosing a tree with perfect sap content, plumpness, and moisture retention. The major difference between recent years and years past is that I always used to pick our tree from the discounted section at Lowe's. In truth, it didn't even matter that the tree was coming from a big box store where the trees had certainly been shipped from far, far away; it was still total magic.
Now, my family makes a day of it—spending 3x the amount of money for a locally-grown tree that must be chopped down by hand. It's special. It's festive. It's an investment that I budget for in advance. It errs on the side of sustainability, and it keeps the money in our local agri-tourism economy. I do love the rural life. And as a result, there's a beautiful Canaan fir (with great sap content) sitting on my sister and brother's stoop.