Choosing a tree

Thanks-giving was a low-key event for us this year. We had a few members of the family and some friends over on Thanksgiving Day to do the turkey thang. We may be a minority, but we like to celebrate Halloween in October and Thanksgiving in November. We don’t start decorating for Christmas until December. That’s just the way we roll. This past week after coffee and breakfast, we headed to the tree farm for a Christmas tree. It will live in our yard until a couple of weeks before the fat guy cometh. Last year we waited too late and all the good “planting trees” were gone. We settled for an artificial tree. It was pretty, but it smelled like polyvinyl chloride. For me, the tastes, sounds and smells are what make it feel like Christmas. And the smell of plastic wasn’t Christmas-like. We vowed to do better this year. The trees we’ve had in the past were Leland Cyprus. They make pretty trees, but they grow like they are on steroids. Our yard is full of them. The smallest one is about 15 feet tall. The largest one is well over 30 feet. The front and backyard look like Christmas forests. Our first live Christmas tree was a white pine that we bought in December of 1983. It’s now big enough that we could cut it and build a log cabin. We wanted something different this year. Over near the edge of the tree farm, we saw a beautiful tree. It was smaller than a Leland, but it had a good vibe. Sunlight made it look silvery blue. It smelled like the Pacific Northwest. The label said, Blue Ice. Jilda stood guard by the tree while I fetched the “digger-upper-guys.” When I took them back to where she was standing, they gave me the tag and said I could go inside and pay for the tree while they dug it up and loaded it for me. There was a line of tree-buyers waiting to pay. Apparently, a lot of people had the same “start early” idea as we did. So, I poured me a complimentary cup of hot apple cider and did some people watching while I waited. Christmas music flowed from speakers that I could not see. Everyone in there was smiling. A cat, the size of a pot-bellied pig, purred on the counter while kids oohed, aahed, and petted him. After the swiping of the card, I headed back out for the drive home. I’d never heard of a blue-ice Christmas tree so when I got home, I Googled it and learned that it’s an Arizona Cypress. Over the coming days, we’ll dig out our Christmas music, sip eggnog and decorate our little Blue Ice Cyprus. When Jilda does her magic, I know it will be beautiful. We’ll also start our yearly tradition of watching our old Christmas movies. My favorite film to start the Christmas countdown is “A Christmas Story.” It always takes me back to the early Christmases in Sloss Hollow. Chevy Chase and Christmas Vacation is usually the next one we watch. This autumn has been a gift even though the weather has been warm at times. But, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Let the fun begin. Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Goes On is available on You can contact him via email at