Did you know that 25 – 30 million Christmas trees are sold in the United States each year? I got that little tidbit from the National Christmas Tree Association. Yes, there is such a thing. And I also discovered that there are about 15,000 Christmas Tree farms in the United States; and those trees are grown and sold in all 50 states (and Canada). I am a little surprised by that. Really, all 50 states?
Anyway, my family did our part to support the local Christmas Tree farmer this past weekend, as we made our annual visit to Sipples Christmas Tree Farm located in Bainbridge, NY.
This was a first for us. I don’t mean cutting down our own tree, or even getting a real tree. It’s the first time we have actually gone to get our tree so early in the holiday season!
Why the early dive into Christmas? Well, Rach was home from college for the week, and we were not going to go through what we went through last year. In 2020 everyone seemed to be getting on the “real Christmas tree” wagon – even people who usually opted for a fakey one. There were also widespread rumors that there was a Christmas Tree shortage, which I think prompted many to get their tree earlier than usual; all of this went unnoticed by me.
True to tradition, my family waited until about two weeks before Christmas to go get our tree. My friends always ask why I wait so long. “Isn’t it a lot of work for just two weeks?” My answer has always been no. It’s the perfect amount of time to have your home turned into a winter wonderland of chaos. Many years ago, we waited a bit too long and got out tree the week of Christmas. That was not on purpose, and I admit it was a little late. That year we left the tree up a bit longer than usually to compensate.
Anyway, last year, our family set out about two weeks before Christmas to find our tree. Sadly, Sipples Christmas Tree Farm, where we have gotten our tree from for the past decade, was closed for the season, having sold out for the season.
We were disheartened, but figured no biggie there are a lot of Christmas Tree farms in the area. How hard could it be to find a Christmas tree in upstate New York? We set out for a backup location, only to find that they, too, were closed for the season. We tried two more places with no luck; all closed for the season. I was devastated. What were we going to do?
Early the next morning we set off with determination. Even if we had to trek through a forest, Clark Griswold style, we were getting a tree to bring home. Blake even had his own hatchet just in case we needed one. Our first stop of the day was also a bust (the flying flag outside that said “Christmas Trees Here” was lie), but they did have some good advice. The owner, who apologized for the sign when he saw the look on my face when he said he was all out of trees, directed us to the next town that was rumored to have fresh cut trees just that morning. We eagerly raced over to find that yes, they had three pre-cut trees out front and ready to go. We finally had our tree, and I learned a lesson in waiting too long. I vowed that starting this year (2021) we would go the weekend after Thanksgiving, and I would just figure out a way to keep it alive for a month (suggestions welcome).
It's not that I have an issue with getting the tree so early. Yes, I worry about to keep it alive, how to keep the animals away (we have two playful cats and a big German Shepperd), and the mess the needles are going to make as the month goes on. It’s not the tree; it’s the rest of it.
The decorations that need to get put up, the exchange of regular pictures and signs for the Christmas ones. The placement of lights, décor, snowmen, the nativity, and the knick-knacks. Because there isn’t enough room in the cupboard, you have to pack away the regular wine glasses and plates and exchange them with the special holiday ones. Finding a place to put the holiday platters, Christmas themed potholders and the special utensils and items that are only out for the holiday season.
And of course, the putting up of the lights and decorations outside. We have a big front porch that looks so nice once the lights are up. However, as the person who does all of the decorating, it’s a lot of work. Those of you as the designated light-detangler and -upper will understand. And when my neighbors start to decorate, I feel that added pressure to get mine up as well.
There is a lot of work just to get ready for the holidays and once we open that pandora’s box with the tree, it just gets crazier from there. Not to mention I just hosted Thanksgiving, so I feel like all I’ve done during my vacation is cook and clean and then clean and then cook. Totally not complaining about that; you know how much I love to cook and host for Thanksgiving. But when Christmas descends only 48 hours later, it’s a lot of work!
However, having transitioned from Thanksgiving to Christmas in the span of four days I can say I am beginning to understand the appeal. I can now enjoy the décor and tree for the next five-ish weeks, it is kind of nice knowing I don’t also have to squeeze decorating in between shopping, wrapping, holiday parties and more cleaning. Maybe my friends who do this every year are onto something?
For now, I am going to take my “special coffee” in my Christmas themed coffee cup, with some of my leftover Thanksgiving snacks on my Santa faced plate and go finish putting up my Christmas lights outside. I am not going to be the one who brings down the neighborhood with a dark, undecorated porch tonight.