Vacation may keep us from cutting our own tree

I’m not sure if we’ll get a chance to do our family’s favorite Christmas tradition this year. We usually go out and cut our own Christmas tree, but we might not have time for it this year. I’ll have to find another excuse to get outside.

My whole family loves to go outside. Even when it’s snowy and cold, we love the outdoors. Granted, I don’t think any of us like the snow, cold and wind when we have to be outside for chores, but if we can get out on our own terms, we always enjoy it, no matter what the temperature is.

That’s one of the reasons we love to go cut our own Christmas trees. Almost every year for the last 16, we’ve taken the truck up to the Snowy Range and wandered around in the woods until we found the perfect Christmas tree. Well, maybe not perfect. You can’t find a wild-growing tree that’s as full as one you’d get at a tree lot, but where’s the adventure in that?

We’ve learned a few lessons along the way, though. The first year we were in our current house, with ceilings that are much taller than the old house, we decided we wanted to get a tree that would go all the way to the roof. Unfortunately, for every foot taller a tree is, the trunk is usually several inches wider. All that extra tree adds weight. A lot of weight. Stick with the shorter trees if you don’t want to have an aneurism in the middle of the forest.

We learned to be sure to take more than one saw, after the blade broke one year and we had to use the hand axe to cut it the rest of the way down. And we learned to always take a shovel and the tire chains, because those forest roads have a tendency to get a little snow-packed.

But this year, we’re going to be in the Caribbean when we’d usually be hunting for a tree. I think I’d rather spend my vacation in a goose pit or on a late-season whitetail hunt than on a cruise ship, but my wife will be on that boat, so I better be there, too. Maybe we can still sneak up to the hills for a tree when we get home.