My favorite Christmas tradition is hunting for the tree

For most people who like to hunt, chasing animals isn’t all that gets us into the woods. This time of year, there’s one activity that brings all sorts of people to the forest.

I have no idea how the whole Christmas tree tradition started. I’m sure there’s an explanation out there on the Internet, but with my luck, I’d find a site with a Christmas tree story some wacko just made up. It’s hard to find information you can believe on the Web. I would like to know how it all started, but that doesn’t keep me from getting a tree for my house.

There are several options for Christmas trees. Of course, you can go buy a cut tree at a lot somewhere. Most of those trees come from farms where they’re bred for fullness and beauty. You can get a pretty nice tree, but that’s not my preferred method.

You can get a live tree that you can plant in the ground after Christmas. That’s how my wife and I have done it for the last few years. But this method has its drawbacks, too. First of all, it’s not good for the tree to keep in inside for more than about a week. There’s also the tiny detail of digging a four-foot-wide hole three feet deep in ground that’s frozen solid. Then there’s the A-word. But I’m not even going to dignify that option by talking about it.

My favorite way to get a tree, and the favorite of a lot of outdoorspeople, is to go out and cut our own. It’s a good excuse to get out of the house and head into the hills. You can take the whole family along, even if you have to bundle the kids up like miniature Goodyear Tire men.

You may not be able to cut trees in your favorite hunting area, but you might see some of the same critters you chased in the fall. It’s not hunting, but it still gets you outside and away from civilization for a while. It’s also the cheapest way to get a tree. A tree-cutting permit is only 10 bucks, but you’ll be lucky to get a tree from a lot for under 25. The tree you cut yourself may not be as pretty as a farm-raised lot tree, but it’ll have more character. And trees you cut yourself always make the house smell better than those you get any other way.

So if you don’t have your tree yet, what are you waiting for?