I am a Christmas tree snob. I grew up in a household that took Christmas tree shopping very seriously. The date was picked weeks in advance, snacks were packed, and the four of us headed out for what we assumed would be an all day adventure to procure the perfect Christmas tree. We would travel to multiple nurseries, tree farms, and garden centers before my mom would give the final and much anticipated, “Yes, that’s it, that’s our tree.” This was after hours of, “How about this one? No, that one’s too <insert negative adjective here> stumpy/skimpy/flat/short.” As we all neared starvation and my kid sister got minute by minute closer to a full on meltdown the clouds would part and a ray of sunshine would illuminate the tree that was meant to be ours. At least that’s how I remember it…
Fast forward 20 years and my husband and I are now purchasing our own Christmas tree. I spent years harping on my mother about her ridiculously high Christmas tree standards and spewing such nonsense as “some day when I get my own tree I’m just going to buy the first tree I see.” Now, of course, I find myself saying to my very patient husband year after year, “No, that one is too stumpy/skimpy/flat/short…” while we’re at our third tree farm of the day, until the ray of sunshine finds our tree. When we first moved in together my husband advocated for a fake tree with colored lights, which I adamantly opposed stating that obviously we would be getting a real tree and adding white lights. We compromised and now always put up a real tree with colored lights which is perfect for us.
I understand that each individual’s idea of the “perfect Christmas tree” varies, but I’m here to tell you that everyone else is wrong and this is what every house needs:
- Buy a fraser fir. They have stronger branches and don’t drop their needles as quickly or as readily. Balsam’s are very pretty, but you will spend every day until Christmas vacuuming around your tree and nobody has time for that.
- It should be a struggle to get it home. I’m talking hand out the window holding it on to the roof of your car in case the ropes don’t hold kind of difficult that only takes place around the holidays.
- It should be ever so slightly uneven on the bottom so that you can stand there for an hour with your arms crossed saying, “Now I feel like it’s leaning back towards the wall. No, now it’s too far forward and slanted to the left”, as your spouse or child lays under the tree adjusting and re-adjusting the trunk in the stand.
- It must be slightly to very (depending on your comfort level) too large for the space it’s required to fit in. If you’re not arguing with your spouse on what should and should not be chopped of the top, bottom, sides to make it fit you are not doing it right.
- It should be tall enough that the tree topper of your choosing touches your ceiling. If not, you are missing out on valuable space that could be occupied by more tree.
- Most importantly it should make the room that it’s in feel like Christmas heaven and bring a sense of calm to the space and everyone it…at least until your cat climbs up the trunk, your dog eats the ornament you bought for your first married Christmas, and your kid kicks a ball into the center of the tree scattering all pets and ornaments within a five foot radius. Merry Christmas.