Two years ago I was googling for another christmas tree place (as the place before had been kind of a disaster: loud holiday music piped everywhere, trailers with giant cardboard cutouts screwed to the side to make them look like Santa's sleigh and an actual Santa on site... a little too much cheese, even for me.) and found a tiny place called The Shire Christmas tree farm. Well, any Lord of the Rings reference makes me happy- so we went. Somehow I'm always deciding we have to do these things at 3:30 in the afternoon and I was not yet used to the time change. The drive was long and it was getting dark. Josh was skeptical, Josh's mom was amused (this being her first outing ever to get a christmas tree) but I was smitten. The place is tiny- they have a little grove of trees you can look at and then fresh trees on a lot. It was the first tree that Clara had a hand in decorating, and really she loved it. I thought the whole thing was a grand success.
Josh is a bit of a scrooge and while he enjoys the tree, finds the pomp a little tiring, so last year the girls and I went in the afternoon the week after thanksgiving while he was at work. I went back to the Shire, they net the tree and tie it on the car for free- so I could manage it with a small mobile toddler and even smaller non-mobile infant. But again, it was getting dark when we arrived and totally dark when we were driving home, in rush hour, with a tree strapped to the roof of my tiny car and two hungry screaming kids in the back. Um, less successful?
This year I warned Josh in advance. This weekend we are getting a tree, Saturday or Sunday, I don't care, we're going back to The Shire (Josh rolls his eyes). I try to get us out the door early, so it won't be dark. We had snacks, things to amuse the children and of course I would drive so Josh wouldn't have to think about it. Josh still wasn't convinced, and it didn't help that I got confused and took a wrong turn. The GPS re-routed us and we passed a different, larger, tree farm. To appease the situation, I said, hey, here is a tree farm- let's go. I'm trying to be flexible, which I'm somewhat famously not. We park and I try to get the snot and granola bar off of Zoë's face- knowing the upcoming photo op. Josh inquires about the pricing of the trees and when we all meet up, we pet the enormous dog who lived there and start to walk to the trees.
The place is huge and there is a stream and a gazebo and Josh tells me the prices of the trees. I'm a little annoyed because they are more expensive than my little Shire. But, eh, it's only $10 let's keep walking. And then I see the sign just past the barn- netting $3. really?
So I turn to the sweetie and tell him, really, the other place is just 7 minutes away and it's less expensive, mellower and the netting and car-tying are free and there is no stream for Zoë to go swimming in (when she saw it she said, "SPLASH!" and tried to squirm her way free.) He agreed and back to The Shire we went. We still had enough light to take some awesome shots of the girls running around pointing at the little trees and we scored a beautiful tree.
We weren't home before the sun set, but I think I am finally getting the hang of this tree-procurement thing. It was off the car, in the stand and in the house without any stress. Josh found some christmas music he didn't mind and the eggnog was flowing. Zoë adorably piled all of her ornaments in one spot on the tree and then took her shirt off and danced. Clara decorated like a mad woman and then sat in her rocking chair and admired her work. It was a total success.