Ah, the first Christmas as a married couple. When two people attempt to make 20+ years of two different family traditions into something new and their very own. This could be a very beautiful or a very ugly new thing, depending on the compatability of the respective traditions.
Friends and family, have no fear. You won't hear any bickering in our apartment over white or colored Christmas lights on the tree (they're colored, of course), no arguments about a themed tree or one with a menagerie of beloved ornaments (it's a menagerie of ornaments, no question), and absolutely no disagreement about real vs. fake tree (I did a fake tree last year and about cried. Every day. So it's a real tree this year.) All of this agreement means we obviously did our premarital counseling homework.
But Texas did not do its "Ariel's necessities for Christmas" homework. The list is rather long (and it starts with the lack of snow), but for this post we'll simply focus on the adventure of getting a real, live, fragrant, Christmas tree in the Lone Star state.
My loving and understanding husband promised that we could go pick out a tree two days after we returned from our Thanksgiving trip to Nebraska. I was going to have my tree up and decorated before the first day of December! Things were off to a good start!
First stop that evening was Walmart for a tree stand. We checked out the pre-cut Christmas trees offered there and were appalled to see a total of 6 Charlie Brown Christmas trees (and I mean the Charlie Brown trees before Linus put his blanket around it). Observe:
I promptly turned up my nose and Nic and I proceeded to a Christmas tree farm. In Michigan you can find a plethora of them. In urban Texas you have two choices, both of which are at least 30 minutes away from where ever you live. No matter, my Ford compact gets good gas mileage. Spring Creek Growers, the five-time winners of Grand Champion Christmas Trees of Texas, here we come!
As we approached the farm, I noticed the two "farm hands" helping to bind and load trees into people's trucks. They are in t-shirts. Because it's 65 degrees outside. I zipped up my jacket and pretended to shiver. It made me feel better.
The nice lady at the information shack told us that we could go cut our tree or choose from the freshly pre-cut trees. We decided to check out the cut-your-own trees.
I told him it was for pole vaulting over the trees.
After doing a very scientific and thorough inspection of the trees offered in the field, I declared them unworthy. You only had two tree choices: Leyland Cypress or Virginia Pine. Wimpy trees with not enough branch strength to hold paper snowflake ornaments or fruity trees with swishy looking needles with a poor excuse for pine fragrance.
Back to the pre-cut trees.
And that's where we met "the one." A six foot Fraser with buff and toned branches and a strong pine scent to make you (or at least me) weak in the knees.
Remember my Ford Escort, my compact car that gets great gas mileage? That's right, that was the only vehicle we had to transport our tree home. Observe the result of determination and Nic's mad skillz.
An older Texan passed us as Nic was loading the tree into the backseat and promptly told him, "Son, ain't no way you're gettin' that tree into that there car." Pa-lease, sir. Just because we're the only ones in the parking lot without a Ford F-150 doesn't mean we can't engineer the improbable. I've seen way more ghetto tree haulin' arrangements than this.
But we drove home under 45 miles/hour, just in case.
The only other bump we had while putting up our tree was discovering that we only owned (and could afford after the cost of the tree, the tree stand, the gas to get the tree..) one strand of lights for our tree. Be honest, does it look that ghetto?
The last thing I must mention about our tree is how much love is hung around its branches. There are several personalized and "our first Christmas" ornaments we received as wedding gifts and the skirt was handmade by one of my aunts. Both of our families are with us this Christmas season, even if they are hundreds of miles away. We love you all.