Friday, December 19, 2008

O, Christmas Tree.

Two weeks ago, Ryan, Felicia, Michael and I went to a local church to pick out a Christmas tree from the youth group's sale. All money raised from the sale went to local charities, so we figured this would be a win-win situation.

To give a little background, I don't remember having a real tree. From photos, I know my parents would get them when I was very small, but I only ever remember decorating a fake tree. Ryan's had real trees all through her childhood, so she was totally into the idea of us picking up a live one this year.

When we got to the tree lot, we parked and walked over to the sale, where a bunch of 12-year-old boys were running around being, well, 12-year-old boys. One kid asked if we needed help, and he showed us the smaller trees on the lot and told us some tips about picking out a tree. Then he told us if we put our tree into boiling water, it would make the whole house smell nice.

Put the tree into boiling water? Having no experience in this area, I figured he must mean pour boiling water into the tree stand. It didn't sound like a good idea to me, but what did I know?

We chose a tree, and the kid helped carry it to the car. Or, I should say, he tried to carry it by himself to the car. About halfway there (after we tried to offer help), a youth group leader took the tree from the kid so he didn't fall over. He stuck it on my car, but then asked if we wanted the stump cut.

"Well, I don't know. Do we?" I asked.

"You need to cut at least some stump off," stressed the leader, hauling the tree back off of the car and using a saw to trim the stump. The kid then trimmed off some of the stray branches at the bottom.

Wondering about liability issues, I asked if we should tie the tree onto the car ourselves.

"Ah, no, he'll do it," the leader motioned at our kid, who ran off to grab string.

While the kid was out of ear shot, I questioned the leader about the whole tree-in-boiling-water bit. He shook his head.

"Sometimes I don't think these kids listen to the words that come out of my mouth," he said. "You don't put the tree in boiling water, you take the piece of stump that was cut off and put that into boiling water. Yesterday they told some lady to put her tree into a pot on the stove."

And this was the kid about to tie the tree to my car roof. Comforting.

When he returned with the string, the leader walked away and the kid got to work. The whole while, he was quietly talking himself through the process. I kept looking at Ryan with raised eyebrows, but we tried not to laugh for the kid's sake. He was trying so hard.

I told him to make sure he was tying the tree really tight, and we could help if he needed us to.

"I think that's as tight as it will go," he said. As an afterthought, he added, "You know, this is the first time I've done this."


When he was finished, I asked him if he wanted to round up some youth group members and I'd take a photo for the newspaper of their tree sale. This was a huge selling point for him, so he ran off to get everyone together. Ryan, Felicia and Michael were able to better secure the tree at this point without hurting the kid's pride.

Obviously, we got the tree home. It was a little precarious, particularly driving over the bridges onto the island, but it made it safely and we were able to set everything up. Ryan and I decorated the tree that night, and I must say there's so much more charm in having a real tree than a fake one.

I love our tree... I may love the whole experience of picking it up even more.

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