1) You only have to buy it once. Pick one up on an after Christmas sale and you're set.
2) You can set it up whenever you want. In the past, we've picked out a Saturday when we could go get it, only to have it start pouring rain. Then we have to wait a whole week for the next Saturday. And hope it doesn't rain again.
3) You don't have to cut it down. Cutting down trees stinks. And the trees we cut down always have these huge trunks. Not only do I have to spend a lot of time cutting through the massive trunks, but I also have to shave a bunch of the trunk off to get it to fit into our Christmas tree stand. Sure I could just buy a stand that holds bigger trunks. But I'm trying to get us to get a fake tree! And buying live tree equipment doesn't fit into my plan.
Besides, no one really has fun going to the Christmas tree farm. The kids have an ok time finding the tree. But they get pretty cold and bored waiting for me to cut it down.
4) You don't have to worry about watering it all the time or cleaning up tree junk all over your living room.
5) There's no bad spots. Unless you want to put one in when you're assembling it.
This year, we tried somewhere new to find our tree. In the past, we've gone to these big crowded tree farms. One we went to last year had a hay maze thing with a big slide. It had all these different attractions. Even pony rides! And you had to pay to use all of them. This year, if we were going to cut a tree down, I wanted to go to a place with just trees. No big parking lots. No bouncy houses. No gift shop with expensive ceramic Christmas knick-knacks. Just trees.
We found one near our church that looked pretty good. It was just a family farm. You parked in front of their driveway and paid in their garage. Perfect. We got there and I asked the guy how things worked. He said that for a noble fir (they had mostly noble firs), it was $40 per tree. Any tree. Could be 2 feet tall or 60 feet tall. Forty dollars. Mrs. BigKat immediately thought that this was a great thing and basically told me that we should get the biggest tree that we could find. Great. Now I'm all for getting a good deal on things and getting the most bang for your buck. But the thing that kept going through my head was: Big tree = Big trunk = BigKat with a Big backache.
Well, it didn't take us too long to find a nice tree. And yes, it was pretty big. Much bigger than any tree we'd gotten in the past. Mrs. BigKat and the boys took a look around a bit more to make sure that there weren't any better ones out there. And there weren't. So I got started cutting.
Boy was I miserable. First of all, the trunk was really big. I actually had to cut it down a foot off of the ground because the part next to the ground was way too big. Second, I was tired. I had run 10k that morning and I was still feeling the effects of it. Third, it started raining. No fun. And finally, it just took a looooooooong time. At first, I was making really good progress. And then my arms started to get tired. And it went much slower. Eventually, I felt like my arms were going to fall off. No fun at all.
Well, I finally was able to knock the tree down. Which made me feel good. For about 5 seconds. Then I realized that I was going to have to carry the Big Huge Tree up to the house about a hundred yards away. I started to drag the tree up. It only took 2 or 3 steps for me to realize that it wasn't going to happen. It was raining really good at this point and I wanted to get the kids somewhere dry. So we all started heading up to the main house (by the way, the boys actually had a great time while I was cutting the tree down. They were digging holes in the ground with sticks. They did this the entire time I was trying to saw the tree down. And they loved it. Even in the rain! Who would've guessed?). My plan was to see if I could get someone to help me bring the tree up. Well, it turned out to be a great plan. One of the guys drove down on this little tractor and hauled it up for me. And after he brought it up, he said that he'd load it in the truck for me. Perfect! Since they were doing that, I went in to check on the kids. Well, it turned out that loading it in the truck wasn't so easy. Mrs. BigKat saw them trying to put it in and said that it took 2 guys and a lady to lift it up and in. I'm not sure why it was so heavy. Maybe the rain gave it some extra weight? Well, I was just glad that someone else did it for me.
We got the tree home and put it in the garage. The following day, I set it up. Wow! It turned out to be our nicest tree ever! I just loved looking at it, especially after Mrs. BigKat put the lights on. I think it fit our living room perfectly. Nice and tall. But at the same time, not too wide. Just a very nice fit.
The funny thing is that as we were driving out to the tree farm, I think Mrs. BigKat was just starting to be convinced that we should pick up a fake tree after Christmas this year. Now, she's not so sure. Even I'm not so sure. You know, if I could get a nice tree like this every year for only $40, I may be willing to put up with an annual aching-back-arms-falling-off weekend.
Coming next, Christmas Part 3: The Candy