I started getting a wee bit worried when I didn’t see any other fellow Christmas travelers pass us with trees strapped to their cars. Surely, if we were headed to the Jones Christmas Tree Plantation (oh no, not just a farm, a whole PLANTATION), there had to be others in search of the ultimate Christmas tree as well. There had to be…
Let’s back up an hour or so. And actually, even more than that. Some history is needed here. I grew up getting real Christmas trees. We usually went the whole nine yards. We would drive for what seemed like forever to a kid out to a tree farm where you cut down your own real tree with a real saw, a farm that had dirt roads and a big red barn where they sold handmade decorations and hot chocolate . Rain, clouds, sunshine or snow (actually it never snowed, we just wished it would), this is what we did every year. It became tradition. It became, almost, part of who we were as a family. The experience rang true to me, if that makes sense. It solidified the season for me, it was something to look forward to and it just didn’t seem genuine to get a fake tree. I began to associate fake Christmas trees with gaudy tinsel and microwave dinners. A real Christmas tree was the way to go…
The last two years we’ve had a fake tree. I guess it was just easier, more convenient. But a month or two ago, as I was sorting through bins and boxes to pack up for our move to Baltimore, I came across this sad, wilted piece of plastic we used to call our tree. I had to get rid of it.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving weekend. Posts of people getting and decorating their trees began popping up all over Facebook. I knew this year I wanted a real tree again. I wanted to give my kids the same experience I had. I wasn’t sure Matt would be all up for trekking out in the wilderness in the grass and dirt, so I thought we could take it slow this year, just got to a place that had already cut trees. It was still the real thing. So off we went, hubby poking fun at me the whole time about my obsession and excitement to finally be getting a real tree again.
Except, when we got there, it wasn’t all the wonderfulness I had expected. I wasn’t getting the same feeling. Evelyn was confused, and crying. From the fake blow up penguin to the cars whizzing by us on Belair Road, we just weren’t feeling it. In a moment of weakness, I suggested just ditching the whole idea and heading to Target for a fake one. I needed milk anyway. To my complete surprise, Matt was the one who whipped out his iPhone and asked Siri where we could find ourselves a legit Christmas tree farm. He said if we’re gonna do this, let’s do it all the way. Let’s get ourselves the whole experience, a real Christmastime adventure. That’s why I love him. He knew how much it meant to me.
So off we went. The kids were content, the roads were traffic free and Sufjan’s Songs for Christmas was playing, I was back into it. 25 minutes later, as we’re getting close, I look back and of course the kids are asleep. No biggie, a power nap never hurt anyone. This is when I start to notice the lack of people driving in the opposite direction with trees. But, it was a Monday afternoon, understandable for it to be slow I guess? Matthew, are you sure you know where we’re going? Mate, Siri is tracking you, relax. And he’s right, Siri did take us there. We pull up to the very quiet, very gated
farm plantation with a freshly painted sign reading: “SOLD OUT FOR THE SEASON!” What? There must be some really ambitious people out there about getting their Christmas tree if they’re already sold out before December. At this point, I’m hungry, I’m tired of driving, I know the kids are going to wake up cranky, and again I want to just throw in the towel. And again, my better half pushes for the experience. Luckily for us, we had already passed another tree farm in our search for the plantation, so in a last ditch attempt we decide to check it out. Don’t remember what it was called, they didn’t sell hot chocolate, but it was a real tree farm with a real red barn. We found it. Turns out my theory about Monday afternoon being a less than popular time to shop for Christmas trees was true, because we had the whole farm to ourselves.
A man who looked like Santa Clause (or Samantha Clause if you ask Evelyn) got off his John Deer tractor, handed us a saw, and we finally got our Christmastime adventure.
The scenery surrounding our first pit stop. Who has a pool open near December?