Recently I was contacted by the lovely ladies at Patience Brewster, (she is an artist and illustrator of books, greeting cards, and a designer of Christmas ornaments and gifts) to share with my readers one of my favorite holiday memories, so sit back and enjoy this little story. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures, so I’m adding a few I found online to help you visualize my story.
When I was about 16 years old, we were living in a tiny townhouse in St. George, Utah. My Mom was a single mom raising 3 kids and when it came to the holidays, we didn’t have much. So, to make up for our lack of gifts, I thought it would be an amazing Christmas if we put up a huge Christmas tree in our house. But without funds to buy a huge Christmas tree, I had to resort to other options. About an hour away from St. George is the Dixie National Forest. You can pay a small fee for a permit to cut down your own Christmas tree. So my boyfriend at the time and I set out to find a really big Christmas tree that would make our holidays so full of cheer that we would forget about anything else going on at the moment.
We drove up to the mountains in his little Suzuki Sidekick. Mind you we didn’t even have a chainsaw. That would be too easy. We had an ax and our own strength. It was snowing pretty hard by the time we got up there and I was on the lookout for the perfect tree. Everything was either way too big, way too small or not symmetrical enough. So, we kept driving and driving until finally, off in the distance I saw the most beautiful, perfectly shaped, Christmas tree. It was just the right size too. We pulled off to the side of the road, and of course it was quite a hike in our sneakers and jeans through the snow to get to the tree (also mind you, we lived in the desert so we were ill prepared with snow attire). I told my boyfriend that this was the tree I wanted so he set to cutting it down. I don’t think either one of us knew how difficult it is to cut down a tree, especially with just an ax. He chopped, he kicked, he swore, he sweat buckets. He gave up a few times and then started up after taking a break. I helped as much as I could too. Neither the snow nor the bitter cold was helping either, but I was determined to get this Christmas tree to my house to make our holidays special. Finally, after much laboring, that sucker came falling down.
Now we had to drag it to the car. This was no easy feat either. Dragging an enormous tree through several feet of snow in the cold, even with two people, is something I’ve decided they should set up in a Spartan Race because it really is that difficult. Once again, we sweat and we swore and we took breaks, until finally we got that tree to the car. With much maneuvering and many failed attempts, we got it onto the roof of the car.
Now I’m not lying when I say that tree hung at least 5 feet over the roof of the car on both ends. I really don’t know how we drove home because we could hardly see out of the front and back of the car. We looked something like this:
I think this should have been the “ah-ha” moment when we realized that this tree might be a tad too big, but when you’re out in the forest, surrounded by massive pine trees, the smaller trees really do look small, when in reality, they are actually quite large themselves. Nevertheless, we were young and naive and full of the holiday spirit, so we headed home.
When we got to my house, my Mom was still at work, so after moving some furniture out of the way, we set to bringing the tree inside. We got it off of the roof of the car and with one of us at each end, we attempted to bring it through the front door. First we tried bringing it in small end first, but it got stuck before even half of it was in the house. So then we rotated it around, and tried bringing it in big end first. This tree was being very difficult. It just did not want to fit through the front door! We pushed and we shoved and once again we sweat and we swore, (and we might have maybe scratched up my Mom’s door and doorway through this process) and there were literally pine needles everywhere, but dang it we got that tree in the house!
Our house was not big. I think it was around 1200 square feet. The family room was the first room you walked into when entering the house and really the only place we could have put the tree. So we set the tree down on a stand in the middle of the room and attempted to put it upright into a vertical position. After a lot of maneuvering and me frantically moving picture frames and other knick knacks off nearby tables and walls that were getting hit with branches, we finally got the tree into an upright position.
Now this is when we finally had our “ah-ha” moment. I kid you not. That tree, which was placed in the center of the family room, touched all four walls of the room and even with vaulted ceilings, at least a third of it was bent over at the top. Something like this:
So this is when I went into panic mode. I knew my Mom was going to be home from work at any minute and at the moment, you couldn’t even walk into the family room because it was all tree. Not to mention the scratches on the door, walls, and ceiling from the branches. But what was I going to do? We didn’t have time to take it back out again, so we just left it. Maybe she would be really excited about my holiday spirit? Yeah, not quite.
Fortunately, I think my Mom realized that my intentions were in the right place, so she didn’t freak out as bad as she could have, although she did freak out. She told us the tree had to go. There was no way we could keep it in the house. I was so sad. All this work and we couldn’t even keep it.
But then she had an idea. She suggested we cut the tree into a smaller tree and then put it up. What a great idea! So, we took that tree back outside (so much work I tell you!) and we cut off the top 1/3 of that tree and that was our Christmas tree that year. And you know what? It was still a HUGE Christmas tree.
Do you have a funny holiday memory? Share it with me!