O, Tannenbaum

Alternate title: How to spend $40 to save $35.

The ‘big’ discussion around these parts has been about the Christmas tree. And by big discussion, I mean it came up once or twice in conversation. Seeing as last year we grabbed a tree from a tree stand during a blizzard, we felt something of an obligation to kick it up a notch this year. As Emeril would say.

So the professor and I agreed we would drive into the forest to cut our own tree this year. As we did two years ago. And, because I had ‘insider information’ I knew that Saturday’s chosen advent activity would be ‘get a tree’. (Yes, I stacked the advent activity deck.)

Which means I had to get a permit.

It involved a bit of internet research to find the address for the SRD office. And a bizarre Google-map-induced drive. And a very unfortunate, unplanned drive to search for a cash machine because, as it turns out, the SRD only takes ‘cash or cheque’.

[It might be a nice idea to feature that restriction somewhere prominent, like on your website. Instead of delivering the bad news after people park far away, haul their two kids to the office, and wait their turn for said permit. Hypothetically speaking, of course.]

It costs a mere $5.30 to get a permit that allows you to cut down up to three trees from a specified area. So it’s easy for impulsive people, like moi, to think it’s an incredible savings to cut one’s own tree instead of buying one from a nearby stand.

But, let’s review.

Tree from a stand……$40. Length of excursion…….30 minutes

Tree permit…$5.30. Starbucks stop…….$20…..Gas for the 100 mile roundtrip….$15 ……Length of excursion…4.5 hours

So I guess we didn’t save any money. But the tree stand doesn’t make for a particularly memorable experience.

Driving (for seemingly hours on end) in search of the perfect (permissible) tree through snow-covered country with mountains in the distance, that’s memorable. And traipsing through snow with frozen appendages in not-entirely-pleasant weather while pulling a sled, and carrying a child or two? Also memorable.

This morning, after breakfast, the Gort proceeded to document the previous day’s experiences in book-form. ‘Look, mom, I made a book about cutting down a Christmas tree.’ And I was nearly overcome with joy that my kid was sitting down at the table, making a book. And that we’d enabled this kid to experience something so memorable as cutting down his own tree.

‘But I forgot to put you in it….sorry’, he suddenly interrupted my warm thoughts.

I looked at the first page.  Sure enough, he mentioned himself and both brothers by name. As well as his dad. No mention of me.


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