Mark D. Roberts

I’m a Christmas tree fanatic. I admit it. I love Christmas trees . . . their look, their feel, and their heavenly smell. So, as you can imagine, I’m not much into artificial trees, though I don’t criticize my friends who have sold out . . . um, well . . . decided to go with the convenience of a pitifully fake economically thrifty tree.
Ever since Linda and I have had children, it has been my job to purchase and preserve the family Christmas tree. I have a whole system that guarantees the beauty and freshness of the tree, but I won’t bore you with that now.  Honestly, I can get obsessive-compulsive about my Christmas tree.
Anyway, when we lived in Irvine, I tried several varieties of Christmas trees over the years, including Douglas Fir, Noble Fir, and Grand Noble. My usual preference was for the Noble Fir, becuase it stayed fresh for a long time and wasn’t as pricey as the Grand Nobles. One year I found a Fraser Fir, unusual for California because Fraser Firs are grown in the southeastern United States. This was a fantastic tree: beautiful, pungent, long-lasting. But I could never find another Fraser Fir in Southern California after that one year.
christmas tree lightsLast December, after our move to Texas, I was quite happy to find Fraser Firs on sale. Unfortunately, our rental house had very little room for a Christmas tree. So I ended up getting a relatively small Fraser Fir that we set up in the kitchen.
Early in 2008 we were able to buy a home in Boerne, a home with high ceilings. So, as you can imagine, I set out in hot pursuit of a taller Fraser Fir. I found a great deal at Lowe’s for a nine-foot tree . . . just about what I would have spent in Irvine for a seven-footer. It was so heavy I couldn’t carry it by myself. A first!  With help from my son, I managed to get the tree in place.
I put up the lights, as is my tradition. I’ve used different color schemes throughout the years. This year it was colored mini-lights. (Yes, yes, I know I should be using LED lights, but I still can’t get used to their peculiar color.) When I finished with the lights, Linda took it from there, putting up ribbons and most of the decorations. The rest of us added a few ornaments just to make it a family project.
You can see a picture of the result of our efforts. This is my favorite Christmas tree, not only because of its size, but also its freshness and fullness. When the time comes, we’ll recycle the tree, thus slightly easing my green guilt.
I’ll close this post with a classic German folksong:

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie treu sind deine Blätter!

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