BY RACHEL BITTON
“Hey Griswold – where ya going to put a tree that big?” comes out of my brother’s mouth every year when he helps us move our Christmas tree in. It might be obvious by now that my dreams are large. One of my big dreams has always been to have a huge Christmas tree. Artificial trees that large are out of the budget, and nothing beats the good old-fashioned family adventure of cutting down your own tree, Clarke Griswold style (though we do remember to take a chainsaw). My dad’s favorite movie was National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We would watch it every year on Thanksgiving and quote the entire movie all year long.
The first year we attempted to cut down our own tree didn’t go so well. In short, we ended up with a 16-foot tall Charlie Brown tree. I ran to the store, desperately seeking large ornaments and signs to fill the never-ending gaps. The sheer height of the tree helped make it beautiful, but by the time we got it off the mountain and in the house, the branches were few and far between. We learned from our many mistakes, and last year’s Christmas tree was the tree of my dreams. We carefully selected the tree based on size and proximity to the trailer pulling it home. My husband carefully dragged the tree over the snow and down onto the trailer. Upon returning home and standing the tree up in the driveway, I wasn’t sure it would fit in the house! It was massive! It took my husband, brother, and a neighbor to carry that tree into the house. The final height of the tree was 17.5-feet, with barely enough room to put the star on the top. Success!
A tree that large requires a special stand – thankfully the resident builder of all the things (my husband) handcrafted a tree stand. He built it so that we can water the tree, and he attached rugs to the bottom, so it doesn’t scratch the floor as we slide it into place.
I can’t wait for our next Christmas tree adventure. The soft glow of the twinkling lights is so comforting during the cold winter nights. We leave the Christmas tree up until it starts raining needles and becomes a fire hazard. The house looks so bare when we take it down, but as I vacuum up pine needles year-round, I smile and think to myself, “Yes, Griswold – I know exactly where I will put a tree that big.”