CHRISTMAS TREES – DECEMBER 2021
They have been saying that Christmas trees are expensive this year. I took a look at the trees at Whole Foods last week. They were $69.99 for a six or seven-foot tree. Granted Whole Foods is not a mecca for bargains. They also had small two or three-foot trees. I didn’t notice their prices. We bought one of those small trees two years ago and it was a cute little tree. But last year, we weren’t so lucky. We bought one and it shed most of its needles before Christmas arrived and we had to throw it out before the holiday. We’re not going to make that mistake again this time.
This year we would like to buy a six or seven-foot tree, but not for $70. There is a lot nearby that sells them. A few years ago, we got a tree there for around $50. I tried bargaining the price but the salesman was adamant about his price and that’s what we paid. So we are considering not having a tree this year. I think we’ve only done that once—five years ago when we moved here before Christmas—half the living room was filled with boxes waiting to be unpacked. We weren’t too sad about not having a tree.
I have always loved having a real tree in my house. I love the sweet pine scent. Maybe, when you get older, you’re supposed to have an artificial tree. I know that’s what my parents did when they aged.
I recall when I was a kid going with my father shopping for a tree. In Corona, New York where we lived, my father always went to Potash, the produce market in town. It was always freezing cold. The tree lot was across the street from their market. There was always a big fire going in a large industrial-type barrel. I would usually run over to it to keep warm while Dad perused the many trees.
He liked to shake them. I don’t know why. He would say, “You want one that is full.” He meant a lot of branches. We never forgot the one that had two points at the top so we put a pointed decoration on each point. When we found one Dad liked, he would usually negotiate a better, lower price. I guess that’s why I still try to do the same.
When Anita and I lived in Los Angeles, Christmas was a little depressing because it could be seventy degrees at Christmas time. That was comforting when we thought of our relatives back east who were suffering from the cold. Sometimes we played tennis on Christmas morning. We usually laughed at the white flocked trees that lined Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. By the time Christmas rolled around those trees looked brownish from the heavy car exhaust on the boulevard.
Someone told us to go downtown to the railyard to get a fresh and moderately priced Christmas tree. We would go to lunch in Chinatown for Dim Sum, and then, head over to the railyard. Guys would stand inside a boxcar filled with trees. They would auction them off in the railroad car's doorway until a buyer agreed on a price. We got some nice trees there despite the warm weather. Then, for some reason, they stopped doing that.
After that, we went to Christmas tree farms out in the San Fernando Valley. They gave you a bow saw and sent you out into the many rows of trees. The problem we always ran into was the size of the tree. For some reason, we couldn’t judge the height in that big open space. We purchased some pretty large trees over the years.
We had a very high ceiling in our living room in Laurel Canyon. But one year, we outdid ourselves. The tree we purchased was too large for our space. I came home from work one evening and our fully decorated tree just fell over. Being the only one home, I struggled to stand it upright again. When I turned around several minutes later, the tree was on its side again. After that, we had to tie it with heavy fishing tackle attached at two different places on our walls.
So with those wonderful memories, if we don’t get a real tree this year, we won’t feel too bad. Maybe we’re supposed to buy an artificial one at this age.