By Thomas Morrone CFP®, CPA
For many people, decorating the Christmas tree is a holiday tradition. For some of those people, selecting the tree is the most important part. The method of choosing the perfect tree varies depending on who you talk to. The selection process can include walking up and down the aisles and aisles of pre- cut trees in some parking lot or at a local nursery. Once the tree selection is made, most places will wrap the tree in netting making it much more manageable to carry to your vehicle to get it home. For the brave at heart, there is the cut your own method that involves the trek into the field of live trees with a blanket and a saw. For those that have done this, it always sounds like so much fun and it certainly is at the beginning of the adventure. After a crazy amount of time to locate the perfect tree trudging through the snow, mud and freezing temperatures, then you still need to cut the sucker down. This of course includes much more effort to not only cut the tree but also dragging the tree from the farthest ends of the field to the parking lot and then getting the tree in the back of your truck (assuming you are lucky enough to have a truck). For most, the tree needs to be tied to the roof of the car for the journey home. Remember, the freshly cut tree is not neatly wrapped in netting so handling the tree is more of a challenge. Tree sap gets on your hands and clothes and needles stick into all parts of your body. Remember this is supposed to be fun.
Now the tree needs to be set up in that carefully selected location in your home. There are pieces of furniture or plants that need to be temporarily moved to make room for the new arrival. The tree never fits in the stand the first time. Out comes the saw to trim the base of the tree until it will fit into the stand. Finally, the tree is up! Everyone then steps back to admire the efforts thus far. There always seems to be some rotations of the tree needed until the perfect branches are front and center for all to see. Then you notice the trail of needles from the tree where you dragged it into location so out comes the vacuum. Next come the large boxes that have been stowed in closets, basements and attics with all the lights, ornaments and decorations. Now we are talking. The tangled mess of strings of lights never seem to work at first but after some Sherlock Holmes investigating you figure out the problem and the lights finally make their way around the tree. All the memories come out of the boxes and come alive on the tree. All the “remember when” about when we bought this and when the kids made that, or, or, or! Finally, placing the angle on top of the tree signifies completion and now it is time to truly admire the finished product. The smell of the tree fills the room. A little water in the stand and another year, another tree.
In looking back when are kids were small, there are many tree memories but been there done that. Many years ago, we transitioned to an artificial tree. Nowhere near as exciting as cutting the tree but certainly much easier, cleaner and warmer of an experience. When we moved a couple of years ago, we did some purging of holiday decorations including our artificial tree. We purchased a new tree that came in three pieces with pre-wired lights. The hardest part of setting up our newest tree is carrying the box from the shelf in the garage. We still do the “remember when” and new memories are created.
It is not the tree that creates the memories, it is who is around the tree with you. Happy Holidays!
Until the Next Tom’s Take…