“Where’s your Christmas tree?” my 9-year old son asked his great aunt last weekend when we at her house.
“Oh, we took it in already. It’s probably in the chipper.”
A horrified look crossed my son’s face. I intervened, smiling “Don’t worry. The tree’s been…recycled. It’s being put to good use.”
My son looked down, heartbroken, while I quickly explained things to my aunt.
“He got really attached to our tree this year. It was like “his.”
My son did consider the tree “his.” We shopped early, picking it out at Lowe’s.” We pulled several trees out of the pile, twirling them around to check for bare spots. Each time, I got sap or some other gunky substance on my hand. Every time, we found something wrong.
Finally, my little guy pointed at one over on the side. “How about this one?”
I picked it up and showcased it to the family. It was hard to tell at first. There didn’t look to be any bare spots, but since the trees are all packed tightly with their branches up, it takes time to know if the branches will fall into place. It looked good, but we still hadn’t decided
“Let’s get it,” he said.
My wife still wanted to look at more, but something in this tree (other than the gunk) held me, at least enough to where I held on to it. As I picked up other trees, I maintained my grasp on the one my son had chosen.
And then my wife noticed something.
There were several families shopping for trees. However, it appeared that two of them were staring at us, watching the exchange. It wasn’t like we were in the way.
They wanted the tree now stuck to my hand.
Eventually, my son’s opinion won out and we took his choice of trees home, setting it up in the usual spot. We decorated it over the course of three days. By the time the trees branches had relaxed, we discovered there wasn’t a bare spot on it.
After Christmas, we went to visit family for a few days and then took the tree down after we came home. It was time to take it a place where it could be recycled. I asked my younger son if he wanted to come with me.
He turned me down. He didn’t want to say goodbye to the tree.
I tied the tree to the top of the car and dropped it off at Home Depot (the tree, not the car) and returned home (washing tree gunk off my hands again).
My little guy was sad. He missed the tree.
My wife and I did, too. It was the definitely the best tree we’d ever had.