Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Tree Hunting—Not For the Faint Of Heart

For men, Christmas tree shopping has got to be at the top of the list of life’s all-time stress producers—right up there with purchasing a new mattress, remodeling the kitchen or babysitting six-month old triplets… alone… on Black Friday.

Tree acquisition is usually irreversibly triggered by “someone” remembering the holidays. That is, once your wife decides it’s time to get the tree, any chance for escape is lost. So, it’s best to get on board early by showing your beloved that you already have a trip to the tree lot in your Planner, immediately after Thanksgiving.

Yes, you could volunteer to get a tree earlier, although that would likely be viewed as sucking up. Pushing the date out a bit might work—let’s say until the Thanksgiving left-overs are gone. But I would eat fast.

Let’s assume for a moment that you make the right timing decision. On the day of the big purchase you will be richly rewarded if you take someone with you to share the experience. Trust me, tree selection is a decision you do not want to make alone. If no other option is available, call in a marker and take another male with you to help deflect the blame when you totally screw things up. Your buying guide should be someone highly regarded by your wife—-you know, like Josh Groban, Bon Jovi or the Iron Chef.

In the event you don’t know someone rich and famous who can cook or sing, take children—preferably related to you. And remember to lavish praise on them when they make their selection. You’ll want them beaming when your wife first sees them marching through the front door, proudly toting their Charlie Brown tree.

It goes without saying, the gold standard is convincing your wife to come with you. Surely, if you put your heart into the invitation, she will willingly leave the warmth of hearth and home for a trip to the cold, poorly lit and newly sprouted urban forest—AKA Jack’s Tree Lot.

Once there, she will no doubt relish hearing your carefully studied views of height versus girth, spruce versus pine, relative trunk curvature, growth patterns, limb distribution and, of course, moisture content. By next summer you’ll both remember this as a bonding experience.

With any luck, you’ll be in and out of the lot in less than ten minutes after picking the first tree you come to. Hey! It could happen. However, as a precaution, it might be prudent to bring along a thermos and some snacks. Better yet, if you have room in your trunk, consider tossing in a stocked cooler and a portable grill—you could be there for a while.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Drop by my web site any time for updates on my children's books or just to browse around ( http://www.billkirkwrites.com ).

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