We’ve never had a real tree before. For Christmas that is. Neither of us. Well, none of us four, I guess. This year, however, we decided to try the real thing.
You would think that I’d have learned my lesson during months of projects to turn our empty shell apartment into a home: always find and read “How-To” information before starting something for the first time. I have sticky wooden counters, extra holes in our walls, and a jagged shower door all because I like to learn by doing, exclusively. But I still haven’t learned. It’s just a Christmas tree, right?
So off we went to Ikea. Anxious to get one, we went the first day trees were stocked. Yeah, it was rush hour, and dark, and it happened to be raining. We figured out the system (pay 20€ now, and bring the tree back for recycling after Christmas for a 19€ Ikea credit), and went out to the tree lot. First off, the stock for the day had already been picked through. Everything left was tiny. Or, short at least. Secondly, they were all cut and wrapped up in packaging. They looked like sticky torpedos. How am I supposed to pick a tree that’s folded up like an umbrella?
After 30 minutes of trudging through the rain, I saw what looked like a nice full tree. But a teenage girl got there first. She pointed it out to her dad, who looked and said something about the trunk being too short, and put it back. Sounded silly to me, so I took my luck, picked up the tree, and checked out.
Since it was wet, I left the tree overnight in the garage. Next morning I opened it up to let the branches fall down a bit. Didn’t really think about how hard it would be to get an open tree through 4 doors, into an elevator, out of said elevator, and down the hall to our apartment. There’s now a generous trail of pine needles that goes from our door all the way to our garage.
Back up in our apartment, we discovered an issue while trying to stand the tree up. Because of a very large branch coming out near the base, getting the tree into its stand was almost impossible. That whole “short trunk” thing... apparently it meant something. Finally, I went to the internet and discovered that trees should be stood up and placed in water within 8 hours of being cut. And another inch or two should be cut off the bottom. Oops. Not happening. We finally stood the tree up, even have a tiny corner of the trunk touching water. It’s not drinking though.
Annnd, our tree is shaped like the letter < b >. Baby got back. Instead of having people thinking we have a new modern-art chair in our living room, we turned the backside against the wall. But it’s so big the tree is pushing off the wall, thus leaning out over our living room.
That’s our Christmas tree, 2011. And we love it.