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Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Recession XMAS Tree

The wife and I always went for the hundred plus Frasier Fir. It was part of our standard to go to the XMAS farm where a kindly woman gave us hot chocolate and cookies and we stood around in a workshop that looked something like Santa's workshop at the North Pole. There was even pictures of our family from the previous year and that too was part of the ritual as we all posed with our one hundred and forty dollar tree and smiled for the camera. This year, we did something a little different.

Times being what they are we opted for the inexpensive Xmas tree. The kids of course were bummed we were not returning to our bucolic ritual where roughshod men in bib overalls cut our tree and shook  it and wrapped it and threw it up on our car and expertly tied it off. Then we would drive back full of hot chocolate and sugar. Who could ask for more...well, we did. We asked to keep more in our wallet and so our first stop was Menards.

No hot chocolate. Just a desolate warehouse with trees thrown into a bin. The cheery woman with hot chocolate had been replaced with a gloomy highschooler behind the cash register. The trees were much cheaper but it was hard to tell what was a good tree from a bad tree. They had all been bounded up so tight they looked like skinny green icicles. After throwing aside one heavy tree we found one that looked like it might fluff up after all. We dragged it over to a saw and I  cut off the bottom. Then we managed to get it outside where I tied it off and we prayed it wouldn't roll off the car.

But we had paid forty bucks. We were a hundred to the good. Once home the tree was put  into the stand and promptly fell over. The trunk was crooked as the lean Tower of Pisa. We tied it best we could and began putting on lights. Suddenly the floor was covered in needles. The tree was already dying. Upon inspection we found the inside of the tree was entirely dead. We agonized over starting over and taking back our Recession Xmas tree.

We decided to keep it. I bought a fire extinguisher figuring it would be a dry piece of timber in a week. We then covered up the dying tree with tinsel lights and decorations. It wasn't our Frasier Fir and it was going to be a dead stick in a week. But if I don't burn the house down then we will have saved a hundred dollars. Guess it really is a different world now.

Books by William Hazelgrove