We are a family of real Christmas tree people. No pop out of a box, artificial tree for us. We take our tree hunting seriously and this year was no exception. We had a two hour window last Saturday when we would all be free to go and look for one. So the six of us loaded up into two cars and off we went.
Our first port of call was a local garden centre. In the past we had got a few beauties there. However on arrival we looked around and my heart sank. There was a distinct lack of trees lying around. The four kids and myself wandered around with a ‘we are not impressed’ look on our faces. However not my husband. He was busy picking up the one or two dismal specimens that were,
dumped, lying there.
‘What do you think of this one?’, he asked, holding up a half a tree. ‘No’, chorused the five of us. Not to be put off he picked up another, ‘No’ we shouted again. Reluctantly he dropped it. ‘Well this one, what’s wrong with this one?’. I stood behind it and putting my head through a huge gap in the branches I said, ‘I think this might be the problem’. ‘Ah you’re very fussy’, he said, sounding less than pleased.
The kids wandered back to the car in a united show of disgust, but Mr Determined was not to be put off. Eventually I had to explain that regardless of what he wanted to happen, there was not a chance that we would be getting a tree from there. ‘There’s a delivery due in shortly, I think we should wait’, he said desperately, but he knew it was not going to happen. Reluctantly he said his goodbyes and we left.
Our next port of call was a home industry. A family who bought in half a forest of trees for Christmas, and laid them out in their garden for us and many others to buy. Mr ‘I can’t believe we didn’t buy from my favourite place’, came with a bit of an attitude. We could all sense it, but the kids ignored him. They began to quickly pick up and discard various trees. Too big. Too small. Too fat. Too thin. Too bushy. Not bushy enough. ‘Pick this one up’ they would say. ‘Will you turn it around’, ‘No not that way, the other way’. ‘What do you think?’, he’d ask hopefully. ‘No’ they would chorus. Eventually he could stand it no longer.
‘Right’, he said, ‘This is the one’. He held up a lovely tree, which was perfect in every way but one. It wasn’t really the familiar dark green tree we associated with Christmas, more a light green one with small pines on it. ‘No, I hate the colour’ they all agreed, ‘and those needles are all wrong’.
Oh dear I could see the introduction of colour was the final straw. We had lost him. I knew we needed to move fast. Decision time.
‘Okay gang, pick your top two and we’ll decide’I said, with no hint of ‘we better hurry as he who has the money is about to leave’. Quickly they came up with two and when,
we, Mr ‘I can’t understand why this is taking an hour’ put them side by side, the final choice was an easy majority decision. ‘That one’, they all agreed. Delighted Mr ‘not feeling the Christmas buzz’, went off to haggle very unsuccessfully with Mr Christmas Tree.
And it is then that it happened.
As Mr Christmas went to pick up our tree to shave the end of it, in error he picked up the one beside our choice tree. My son spotted it, and said so immediately. Mr ‘I’ve not got a bargain and I’ve wasted an hour of my life’ immediately disagreed. He held up the, new, never seen before, not eight foot tree, for just a moment, and said, ‘No this is definitely the one’. Mr Christmas Tree, had also had enough of the gang of us, and assured us it was the right one. The three girls had headed back to the car so they were oblivious to the fact that there was any issue. I had to make a call. What to do?
I made a split second decision. Yes it was smaller than we would like, but it was bushy, and the right colour. So I looked to my son and asked him, ‘What do you think?, Are you okay with it?’.’But Mom, you do know it’s not the one’.’I know, but will it do?‘I asked, while nodding in the direction of Mr ‘I’m quickly putting this feckin tree in the car before they can stop me’. He understood what I was not saying, and reluctantly he agreed.
It is now up in the sitting room, a much smaller specimen than we would usually have on display. To date the girls are unaware of the swap. When they do look at it they occasionally remark that they hadn’t realised it was so small. When my son looks at it he questions if it is crooked. When my husband looks at it I suspect he thinks ‘that feckin tree!’.
As I look at it I smile thinking we have a definitely not perfect Christmas tree in our house, despite all our best efforts, chosen for us by a complete stranger.