Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Cost of Being a Christmas Tree Snob

So we live in Oregon, land of Christmas trees. Last year I blogged about plastic vs. real trees. I had a small plastic Christmas tree decorated with origami ornaments when I lived in Japan for three years, and that was fine. But I cannot imagine actually bringing a plastic Christmas tree into my home, unless I lived in a place where I could not obtain a real one at reasonable cost and convenience. Never a Douglas fir, trimmed to unrealistic perfection. Also never a precut tree--we must cut ourselves.

Yes, I'm a Christmas tree snob.

Of course, not an obsessed snob, because I'm not one of those people who scout trees well advance of December and mark the perfect one with a ribbon to reserve it. I'm much more of a winging-it snob. My dad always finds good Christmas tree farms, where only has to pay $20 or so for a tree.

We've been going to the same farm for the past several years, for two reasons: (1) they have the much more wild-looking Noble Firs, which are the snob's #1 choice for Christmas trees, and (2) it is close to our favorite McMenamin's pub, the Rock Creek Tavern, which we only frequent once a year because it is out in the boonies.

To avoid the crowds, we opted to go Christmas tree hunting on a Friday rather than a Saturday, which meant Chris couldn't accompany us (Kieran is in half-day kindergarten four days a week, and has Fridays off). We asked for Chris' permission, and he reluctantly said it was okay. (I knew that he would be bored during our efforts to identify the right tree anyway and would probably end up staying in the car reading....but he does like going out to eat!)

I think it's been a tough year for Noble Firs. It took us quite a bit of time to find a suitable tree--full but not too big, tall, and not crooked--hard when you are looking for the wild look as well! We finally found one we could live with. It was flawed--for some reason, some of the needles looked brown, like they had been sunburnt, but most of them were on one side. We decided it would do! It was not cheap at $40...compared to the $15 my parents paid for their Blue Spruce, and $60 my sister and her husband paid for their enormous Noble Fir...but oh well! It's real, it's a Noble, and we (Mike) cut it ourselves!!

Here we are in our muddy boots, posing by our tree:

(Don't you always take a drumstick along when you look for a Christmas tree?)
Here we are in the wonderful Rock Creek Tavern, which has incredible character. A friend of ours reportedly used to streak through the tavern--wild in those days before McMenamin's transformed it into a family-friendly pub--when he was in college.

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