“Someday we’ll have a Corgi. Someday we’ll have our new property. Someday we’ll have a ‘real’ Christmas tree in our farm house.” (In Austin we decorated my lemon tree for the holiday: our Christmas Citrus) Someday is at hand, and my husband and i couldn’t be happier. Gush, gush.
BUT this post is about the tree, sitting perfectly in its corner, on shiny new floors looking out of shiny new windows. It greets us as we drive up with its sparkley LED lights beaming out those windows and is a lovely focal point to stare at while standing by the fire on chilly nights. Oh, Christmas tree!
In case you somehow missed it: we live in Oregon. Oregon is certainly the state of trees, and fittingly is the leader in Christmas tree production. The total U.S. crop in 2004 was valued at $506 million with $143 million attributed to the nation’s leading producer in 2004, Oregon. Oregon was followed in production numbers by North Carolina, Washington, and Michigan. (Thanks, Wikipedia) I perchanced to meat Pat of Sunrise Tree Farm while at a neighbor’s party this season. I chatted with him about what it’s like to raise such a seemingly hit or miss crop. He was surprisingly optimistic. “It’s a pretty sure crop/market. Folks will almost always buy a Christmas tree, regardless of the economy. As long as you don’t over plant after a good year and end up with too much product, stick to a consistent replanting strategy with slow growth, you come out okay.” (paraphrasing)
We headed out to Sunrise the following weekend and had a lovely time. They have all sorts of other family activities set up to make the farm a real ‘destination’ for the holidays. Pocket wasn’t too sure how jolly that giant Santa was, but we found the perfect tree just the same. We ended up with a Nordman Fir. The Douglas Firs, despite being quite a bit cheaper ($5+) were overly groomed for our taste. The Nobles and Nordmans (starting in the $20s) had a better branch layout for our orament hanging strategy. Andy donned his lumberjack persona and cut our little tree down like a champ! It measured out at 5 feet tall and cost $32, not a bad price for a great tree and a purchase that supports a neighbor farmer. They had some tall beauties and some tiny Charlie Brown sized trees: a tree for every living room or budget. And you can’t find a fresher tree anywhere than one you cut yourself!
The smallest member of our family is digging the season as well. There’s just something about Holly, aka “Holly the Christmas Turtle”: she has the oddest habit of LOVING to be around the Christmas tree. As soon as we brought it inside she was out and about, checking out the situation. I think she approves of our tree but can’t wait for some presents to appear underneath so she can begin her ‘bouldering’ amongst the packages. I’m not sure if it’s the lights, the ‘wildness’ of a tree in the house, or what. God bless her, tiny little strange one of unknown age. (* i received Holly as a Christmas gift back in 1999 and she’s been with me ever since!)
It’s sad to see the large ‘warehouses’ (parking lots stocked with semi trucks and bright lights to deter vandals/thieves) along the road, stocked with hundreds of bundled Christmas trees destined for faraway places. it’s sad because it’s nearly Christmas and they’re still not in homes. I hope those trees get to a loving family in time. But such is the risk with a crop that needs to be harvested at a certain size: you inevitably get large amounts of wasted product. So get out there and put one of those sad trees looking for a home to use! 😉
What about you, do you purchase a cut tree, cut your own, get a ‘living tree’ in a pot or unpack a “fake” tree year after year?