How We Got Our Tree

aka One of the Stupidest Things I’ve Ever Done.

Gather ’round, kids…it’s story time!

I realized as we were getting the tree out this year that I’ve never told this story on the blog, so I thought now would be a good time. And since I don’t mind humiliating myself, here goes:

When I was a kid, at some point, my parents switched from a real tree to an artificial tree, and I remember that while I liked decorating the artificial tree better, for the first couple of years I hated that we didn’t have a real tree. I remember that my mom and dad loved the new tree, and how they didn’t have to clean up needles, water it, or just stand back and throw lights at it because it hurts so bad to decorate. I vowed that when I grew up, I’d have a real tree every year.

In college, when I lived in an apartment, we got a real tree both years. And not just a Charlie Brown tree; it was smallish, but a real one! There were four of us girls to take care of it, and disposal consisted of us throwing the tree over the balcony and dragging it to the trash. No big deal.

Matt and I married soon after I graduated, and on our first Christmas we got a real tree.

photographic evidence of first tree

Our second Christmas, married just over a year, we got another real tree. I loved the process of going out and choosing one, but I didn’t like watering it or cleaning up the needles. And I didn’t like the price. But, I did like having a real tree.

more evidence that we did, in fact, used to have a live tree. please note the door in the background. it’s about to become an integral part of the story.

That second year, after we got back to our apartment from our Christmas travels, the tree stayed up longer than I would have liked. It was probably the first week of January, and I decided one night that even though Matt wasn’t home (I think he was playing basketball with some friends in a league that night), I would take down our tree. Our apartment had a sliding-glass door right by where the tree was sitting, so my plan was this:

a) take off decorations
b) lift tree up and carry it out the door
c) let it sit on our fenced-in patio until Matt decided to take it to the trash (mind you, this same patio housed a very, very rotten pumpkin for a very, very long time, so there was a chance the tree was going to be there for a while, but I was OK with that.)

After undecorating the tree, I attempted to lift it. Riiiight. Super heavy. And if you’ll notice from the picture, this wasn’t exactly a tiny tree; it was pretty round (though thankfully, it appears from the pictures that the 1999 was slightly larger, so this could have been worse, I guess). So instead, I thought, well, I’ll just shove it out the door, and then I’ll clean up the needles that have fallen to the floor. A little bit of extra mess, but oh well. The tree will be out of the apartment.

Except, as I shoved the tree out the door it got stuck. Totally, completely, utterly not-going-anywhere stuck. Oh, and water from the tree stand was spilling all over our (rental! apartment!) carpet. Lovely. Oh, and did you know that tree sap settles in that water and when it spills out on your carpet, it makes a sticky mess? Well, now you do.

So now, the tree is stuck half-in, half-out of our sliding door. And I think I forgot to mention that it was FRIGID cold out that night, and was snowing and there were already several inches of snow on the ground, some of which, at this point, is now blowing in my open door.

Stuck in this predicament, I did what any sane new-ish wife (whose husband doesn’t have a cell phone yet so that she can call him crying to come home and fix this stupid problem!) would do: I put on gloves to prevent frostbite and I got the saw out. And then, I sawed the tree in half. Except, lucky for me, that wasn’t enough to get the entire tree out the back door, so I had to saw the portion that was still in my apartment in half AGAIN so that I could get it outside.

You can only imagine the mess this created on the floor of the apartment. Once I thawed my fingers, I got to work cleaning up the needles, soaking up the spilled water, and vacuuming up the sawdust. I am not joking when I say that even though I vacuumed thoroughly many, many times, I was STILL finding needles that August when we moved out of our apartment.

It should come as no surprise that the next fall, we purchased a massive artificial tree. One that is standing behind me now, ready to be decorated this evening by my children. Why we purchased such a massive tree I’ll never know, but it is what it is…

22 responses to “How We Got Our Tree

  1. I’m totally cracking up! I don’t think I have ever heard that story!! We have funny/crazy real tree stories, too. I’m so glad we have an artificial now – especially with kids!!!

  2. That is too funny – love it!! We went artifical too after I got the wrong size base for our real tree and it fell over in the middle of the night, breaking all of our ornaments and staining our hardwood.

  3. i know i’ve heard this story before, but it was like it was just told to me the first time–i’m laughing out loud! and just picturing you with a saw to the tree trunk was the best part. i’m pretty sure that us newlyweds don’t even own a saw… i wonder if that’s weird, actually.

    • The only reason we had a saw was because we had to buy one when we bought the tree in 2000; the trunk was too tall for the stand, so we had to shorten it.

  4. I’m sitting in a quiet classroom right now watching my students work on homework and CRACKING UP OUT LOUD. This story is freaking hilarious. I too love the visual of you with a saw to the tree trunk!

  5. That’s hilarious. I always wonder what sort of horrible experieinces people have had to make them swear off real trees forever.

    We are a real tree family but, thankfully, we’ve never had a bad experience so it doesn’t feel like a big deal to me. We put it in the room with hard wood floors so needles are easy to sweep up, we take turns watering it, we get a tree disposal bag to make carrying it out of the house easier and less messy and we have a kick butt tree stand that has never once failed us.

    I’ve never had to drag out a saw. Thankfully…

  6. I had totally forgotten about this story, so it was fun to hear/read it again! Funny now, but I can only imagine your frustrations when you were going through it….

  7. i was going to respond pretty much like Kelli – We always get real and have had no horror stories thus far (knocking on wood as i type!)

    this was a good story!!!
    Something I could see myself doing! πŸ™‚

  8. PS – your hair in the late 2000 picture is bringing back memories (and making me chuckle) – i use to have a similar “do”!

  9. I love stories like this. And is it weird that I even love stories like this that have happened to me…memories of newlywedness (or anything else, really) that you won’t soon forget. And let’s be honest…while it wasn’t your best moment then, it sure does make for a great laugh looking back. Wouldn’t trade them for the world.

    I also have to tell you that while I was laughing at your story I noticed a little white dot moving along, unprovoked, on my computer screen. I looked. Moved my mouse to make sure I wasn’t controlling it. Looked again. Wondered what on earth was going on. Noticed another. And then, and only then, realized it was snow falling. How big of a dork am I? Now that I know what it is, I love your snow!!

  10. Thank you for sharing…..we all have those monumentally embarrassing at the time, but hysterically funny in the future stories! ; )

  11. hahah…too funny! my family always got a real tree growing up and jastin and i bought an artificial one when we lived in the city but we both decided last week that when we settle in a more permanent place that we will be getting our first real family tree…please lord let us have more luck than the diehl’s!

  12. Yup – I remember that one. Even funnier the second time around, though! I’m an artificial fan because I don’t like the idea of cutting down a bunch of trees and because of the value and the mess and the hassle and the ouchiness.

  13. don’t worry, that’s something that would have happened to me too if we had ever had a real xmas tree.

  14. I. AM. DYING. I’ve never heard this story–how can that be??? What I wouldn’t give for a video of Nicole vs. The Tree . . . I don’t know which I’d have been doing more–bawling or cussing–I’m sure a colorful mixture!

  15. This is the BEST story! It sounds 100% like something I would do!!!

    I remember the last time my parents got a real tree. . . my sis decided to videotape brining it in the house. . . uh, yeah. . . I should see if she still has that video. MUCH cursing and very little holiday spirit involved!

    Yep, that was the last year of the real tree! πŸ™‚

  16. Awesome story!

    My grandfather was a forest ranger for 30 years and he’s had a fake Christmas tree forever. You can love the woods but not want them in the living room …

  17. Okay, a few things (though I could go on and on about this, but for the side-splitting laughter!):

    1. When removing a real tree from your house, wrap it in an old sheet and take it out butt (trunk) end first. This uses the direction of branch growth in your favor and helps slide the tree through the door with no resistance. (Yes, I realize I’m about 10 years too late with this tasty bit of knowledge).

    2. Drag to curb. Remove sheet. VOILA!

    While I realize it probably was not funny at the time, I cannot tell you how hard I am laughing at this image of you wrestling, in the freezing cold with the snow billowing in the door, with this tree. If you didn’t cry at least once, you’re TOTALLY my hero!! πŸ™‚

  18. That is hilarious! I was totally cracking up. I’m impressed you brought out a saw, I probably would’ve just left, and let Jason clean it up! πŸ˜‰ BTW, I thought the same thing with the snow as Libby!

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