Mrs. Geek and I picked up our Christmas tree on Saturday. We got a great deal because of the (apparent) stupidity of the tree seller. If any of you are planning on selling Christmas trees as a second or third career, let this be something of a cautionary parable.
As I have often mentioned, Mrs. Geek teaches at a Catholic school. The "Men's Club" of the Catholic parish associated with the school sells Christmas trees in part of the school parking lot a fund raiser every year. They usually start on the weekend after Thanksgiving. One would think that they should finish up right before Christmas, but that isn't the case at all.
No, they were actually closing up last Saturday. Mrs. Geek had heard word a week ago Friday that the Men's Club was talking about stopping tree sales early last week. Cooler heads somehow prevailed though, and it was decided to extend sales until the end of the week.
Knowing this, Mrs. Geek and I purposefully decided to drop by the school parking lot on Saturday before we went to our usual Christmas tree vendor down the hill from our apartment.
We found the Christmas tree lot in disarray. Boughs were being removed from tree trunks and placed in a dumpster. Tree trunks were being cut up and some of the logs were being burned (apparently for warmth.) There were a few trees still lined up along a fence, apparently awaiting their date with destiny and a chainsaw.
We bought one of those trees along the fence. When we wandered by, we were immediately shown the row of available trees. After some comparison shopping, we settled on a nice 7-8' tall, full fir tree. When I asked the price, the guy helping us said "Well, how much do you want to pay?" It turned out the tree normally sold for $90, but we got it for $50. (This, dear readers, is the price you pay for not driving up into the hills to a "U-Cut" tree farm.) We got an excellent deal. I am used to paying at least $50 for a tree a least a foot shorter than the one we got this year.
The whole episode just strikes me as more than a little stupid though. Why were they giving up on selling trees over a week before Christmas? (The answer likely has something to do with being unable to "mind the store" because spouses and children would shortly be loaded into the Ford Brontosaurus SUV now that school is on Christmas break.) Why, for that matter, were they destroying the trees they were unable to sell? Is there not a hospital, homeless shelter, church or home for the elderly in need of a tree? It all just seems like something of a waste.
The tree otherwise proved to be very easy to work with. I was able to get into the tree stand with very little wrestling. The lights went on without much fuss (no moving strings of lights around to get the plug to end up in approximately the right place). We were able to firmly place our new Swarovski tree topper on the top without any trouble at all. The only problem occurred when we tried to put all the ornaments we'd purchased in the last few years on the tree -- it's a full fir tree, and we could have used some sparse places to get those heavy ornaments closer to the trunk. (Oh to have the spruce trees of my youth once again.) I suppose that of all the problems to have, this is one you want though.
I'll try to get a picture of our lovely Christmas tree up in the next day or so. Having it around is really helping me get in the spirit of the season -- it smells lovely, and that evergreen small always takes me back to warm memories of many Christmases past.
on 2006-12-19 at 3:38 p.m.
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