The Great Christmas Tree Quest 2010

by DaniGirl on December 6, 2010 · 16 comments

in Happy holidays, Ottawa Family Fun, Photo of the Day

The alternate title of this post is “In which she becomes convinced that natural trees are the best possible option for Christmas.”

It was about -10C with the faintest hint of snow in the air when we headed out to Ian’s Evergreen Plantation to find our very first not-plastic-and-metal Christmas tree. Did I mention it was cold? Free hot chocolate and a bonfire helped to take off the chill.

The Great Christmas Tree Adventure 2010

So did running around like goofballs on the play sets.

The Great Christmas Tree Adventure 2010

We took a hayride just for the sake of taking a hay ride, but one of the staff told us the best pickins’ were to be found out front of the plantation.

The Great Christmas Tree Adventure 2010

It didn’t take long to find the perfect tree. I’d worried that this part would be messy, but Beloved handled it in a manly way. “Hey Dad, don’t poke yer eye out!”

The Great Christmas Tree Adventure 2010

The boys were fascinated with the whole process, including the free “Christmas wrapping”.

The Great Christmas Tree Adventure 2010

“We are ridiculously proud of ourselves for going into the forest and hunting down and conquering this tree!”

The Great Christmas Tree Adventure 2010

It’s a little soft because I maxed out my ISO at 1600, but there’s just not a lot of natural light to be had in December. And besides, Lucas and noise just seem to go hand in hand.

The Great Christmas Tree Adventure 2010

He’s almost tall enough to reach the top of the tree. How did that happen?

The Great Christmas Tree Adventure 2010

This? Is worth everything.

553:1000 The Great Christmas Tree Adventure 2010

So here’s my final thoughts about the natural versus artificial debate — now that I’m all professional about the formerly-live trees and all.

  • It was not nearly as much work as I thought it would be to go out and cut down our own tree. Tying it to the roof, also something I’d dreaded, was a non-issue.
  • I was also pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to find a perfect tree. I’d expected to have to settle, but there were many, many great trees to choose from. Ours is perfect and full and lovely.
  • It’s easy to underestimate the size of a tree in the forest. Using Beloved’s 5’11” height as a yardstick, I was aiming for 6 1/2′ to 7′ tall. I thought we’d settled for one on the small side, but it very nearly reaches the ceiling. Did I mention it’s perfect?
  • I’m really glad we went the extra mile to actually head out into the wilds to cut our own tree, instead of just getting one from the corner lot. It was definitely worth the effort, and made the whole experience a memorable adventure.
  • I Swiffered up needles not once, not twice, not three times but FOUR times in the first four hours. I expected some needles, but yeesh! Beloved, who had expressed early reservations about the mess and amount of care required of a natural tree based on experience with them during his childhood, could not resist throwing in a few “I told you so!”s, even though he does admit to liking the final product very much.
  • The boys, who to my surprise were strongly advocating the purchase of a new artificial tree, also agree unanimously that this is the best! tree! ever! (I hope we have not set the bar too high for future years!)
  • The glorious and festive tree smell that everyone goes on about? Meh. Smells kind of like my grandfather’s car from the mid-1970s. Not bad, but not quite what I was expecting.

All in all, we definitely made the right choice and found the perfect tree. Another successful example of living my life according to the will of the bloggy peeps! πŸ˜‰

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 liz December 6, 2010 at 9:32 am

Keep that baby watered. Water, water, water, water.

My family of origin did the natural tree every year (both mom’s and dad’s houses) and never got the tree prior to the 15th of December.

2 Leslie December 6, 2010 at 10:05 am

Love it! We went to Ian’s on Saturday too – but we picked up a 12′ behemoth. Love that place.

3 DaniGirl December 6, 2010 at 10:07 am

Thanks Liz! I know we’re a shade on the early side, which is also why we thought cutting one fresh might be a good idea — buy us a few more days of shelf life. I was astonished at how much water the tree sucked up overnight! We got one of these and half the gallon reservoir was empty in 12 hrs!

Leslie, a 12 footer! That’s awesome! πŸ™‚

4 Vicky December 6, 2010 at 1:31 pm

I’ve heard watering it with gingerale can also extend the life of the tree. We’ve had real trees for the past 7 or 8 years, and I absolutely love it! Oh, and if you vacuum up the needles, be prepared to be smelling pine every time you turn on your vacuum for weeks to come! It’s like a gift that keeps on giving! πŸ™‚

5 Laura December 6, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Congratulations! The photos are beautiful Dani. And like Liz said…channel the Water Boy and keep that conifer hydrated with high quality H2O.

6 Joe Boughner December 6, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Did you unwrap it and let it fall outside for a few hours? Doing that, then slamming it down trunk-first on the ground a few times, cuts way down on the number of needles that fall off when you bring it in. Tree looks lovely, though. We’ve been getting real trees since we moved in to our first townhouse – love the way they smell and feel.

7 DaniGirl December 6, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Vicky, gingerale? No kidding. Well, my friend puts sprite in her cut flowers, so it must be the same principle. Maybe just a teaspoon of sugar would do the same?

Joe — I’d heard of doing that, but didn’t know why (plus, we’re kind of impatient people!) so we brought it in more or less right away. And unwrapped it in the house. Now I know!

8 Jen Hughes December 6, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Yay, so glad it was all a success! I would have felt personally responsible I’d it hadn’t been. πŸ™‚ Did they put the tree in the shaker before they bundled it for you? I don’t usually bother hauling out the vacuum daily to deal with the dropped needles, just a quickie sweep-up once a day as I’m watering.

If it’s drinking a lot of water, that means it’s nice and fresh (obviously, since you just cut it). You’ll notice it’ll drink less as time goes on, but water it like mad in the meantime! I think the Ian’s website (or somewhere) says not to bother putting pop or sugar in.

It looks so pretty! Well done.

9 Paula December 6, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Your first Christmas in your new home with a beautiful real tree. The kids must be getting pretty darned excited. They certainly looked like they were enjoying decorating it.

10 Laura December 6, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Looks beautiful. Congrats RT @DaniGirl: Took the plunge and LOVE our new "natural" tree! :))))

11 Vicky December 6, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Nice job! RT @DaniGirl: Took the plunge and LOVE our new "natural" tree!

12 Coco December 6, 2010 at 7:20 pm


13 Vanessa December 7, 2010 at 9:27 am

Love, love, love Ian’s! We’ve been going there for a few years now!
Took your advice and picked up the Omega stand – what a lifesaver! It rocks!

14 Amber December 8, 2010 at 12:50 am

I’m glad you enjoyed the experience. I think it’s important to do it at least once, so that you can make an educated choice. πŸ™‚

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