Well, it’s darned cold up in Oregon's hillsides in December! How great would it be to take a nice Spring or Summer drive on a sunny day to scout out a few spots ahead of time? Maybe even wander the forests and do a little preliminary searching for your perfect tree.
It has been written that the Christmas tree “became a symbol of Christ — being triangular in shape it represents the trinity — that’s one of the main origins of the Christmas tree and bringing it into the house”.
As a kid growing up in the 1950’s all I can remember in our house at Christmas was this silver aluminum tree with a bunch of silver tinsel haphazardly thrown on it and a revolving light fixture behind it that cast red, green and blue colors on the tree. Oh. My. God.
That aluminum monstrosity is embedded in my brain for all time.
When I turned 18 I moved out on my own. One of my happiest and proudest moments was getting my own small real Christmas tree. I couldn’t afford much, but it was a freshly cut real tree and it was mine to enjoy. No more aluminum and tinsel for me, thank you very much. Read on, it gets better.
While my husband and I were dating we created a tradition of going out to cut our own tree each year with a group of our friends. Originally, we would get forest permits and go up into the hills in Oregon and tromp around in either mud or snow until we had all “bagged” a tree. That was our euphemism for cutting down a tree.
This became a bigger challenge for me each year. So great was my memory of that horrible aluminum monstrosity, that each year it was my quest to find a bigger and more perfect live, green tree. Hence, “tree bagging”, as it affectionately became known, became a more arduous event as each year passed. I felt almost possessed to search most of the forest before deciding I’d found the just the right tree.
One year we had all ventured further into the forest than we realized, when I found the Christmas tree of all Christmas trees! The trunk was so thick that it took three guys taking turns to saw through it. It was perfect! Except that it was so heavy we couldn’t carry it out through the forest. The problem was, everyone else had their own tree to carry. We all pondered long and hard and had to make the heartbreaking (for me) decision to leave it behind and find a tree that we could carry on our own. From that day forward I was teased about cutting a tree and then leaving it ‘dead’ in the woods!
After our son was 3 or 4 years old, we wanted to take him with us “tree bagging”. But taking a 3 or 4 year old into the woods for more than 5 minutes wasn’t very practical. Or fun. So we started going to established Christmas tree farms with both friends and family. This worked quite well because we went to farms that offered festive holiday shops, some with their own jolly Santa, free hot chocolate and rides on their hay wagons.
Secretly, the best part of all was that the wagons would also make circuits of the farm to pick up trees and the families who had “bagged” them. Because I often ended up finding the ‘perfect tree’ at the bottom of the hill, this service they provided was very handy!
Living in California for 8 years and now in Las Vegas for 8, we don’t have much opportunity to go out and “bag” a live tree. So we have succumbed to the artificial version of a Christmas tree.
So artificial vs. live, large vs. small. It has the same meaning. It’s the journey to find the perfect one for you and your family that creates the memories. So if you are lucky enough to live in a part of the country with mountains and forests and Christmas tree farms, now is a great time to start your "tree bagging" adventure. Just mark your tree well and cut it fresh just before you want to put it up for the holidays. Yes, they're a long way off, but it's never too soon to start your "tree bagging" quest!