Oh Christmas Tree

This is what my front door looks like right now.
It’s pretty, but good luck getting through the snow to the door!

Interesting pandemic side story: Christmas tree shortage. Along with pretty much every other item consumed by a shopping population, there is a problem with live/real Christmas tree inventory. In conversations with people who own tree farms, they say it actually started years ago when interest in real trees waned. Farm owners planted fewer trees year after year.

Suddenly, in 2020, more people than usual were staying home and in record numbers they wanted real trees. I noticed it was a problem last year, and only by luck did I find a tree the size I wanted – I did not get to choose the type. I saw plenty of little trees, but I like them big, as you can read in this old post about one of our trees.

This year I saw U-Cut Christmas tree places closing the first week of December: already out of inventory, with only baby trees left. The place we went had a whole bunch of 4-foot-high trees, and four 11-foot-high trees. Nothing in between, and 11 feet is too tall. I guess if you are happy with a little one, then this is not a tree shortage. I would have wanted to get back in the car and drive to another place and see if the selection was better, except that the type of 11″ trees lying on the ground here were perfect. Those stiff, sturdy branches that can hold my ridiculously heavy ornaments without bending too much.

One of Pedro’s sons was with us (the other twin was at Disneyland, but this one is not a fan of that much stimulation), and it was cold and raining. We decided to try to make it work. I bought the best of the giant trees and asked them to cut the top and the bottom, so it was closer to 8 feet. It was a somewhat wonky tree, but I thought it would end up pretty anyway. The company was kind enough to lash it to my Jeep for us while we paid for the tree and then ate complimentary snickerdoodles and drank complimentary hot cocoa. When we got home we had to set it up right in the middle of the room where the vaulted ceilings could handle the height.

I call it a wonky tree because it has two tops. You can see in the naked tree pic, where two tree trunks rise to the top. The main trunk has a curve where a previous extra trunk was cut off years earlier. Also, it’s gorgeous and bushy in the middle, but the branches are short at the bottom. It’s a pear-shaped tree. There was one particularly big hole at the bottom, created because there were no branches at all. Fortunately, I knew Pedro had one gigantic wrapped gift for me at his house. I asked him to bring it over and I plugged the hole. You can see the giant gift (with Charlie Brown wrapping paper) on the right hand side of the tree in the photo above.

This Christmas I was spoiled when both Tara and Pedro came to stay with me. T was here four days and P was here seven days. It was their best Christmas present to me.

The stocking table. We can’t hang them over the fire because the chocolate would melt. The musical carousel you see on the left is from Pedro to Tara in honor of their new job at the Carousel Museum.

Our family has always valued stockings as the first and most important part of gift-giving at Christmas. My dad’s contribution to the tradition is that tangerines go into the toes to keep them round. I tried to use oranges this year but they were too big and could barely fit. Next year, back to tangerines. My mom’s contribution is that something appealing must stick out the top. I know you see mostly candy in the picture above, but the socks are packed with tiny gifts that Tara and I ideally will collect or make all year long. When I was a kid, I remember my parents sometimes didn’t have enough to fill a sock and had a hard time getting something to appear out of the top without slipping back inside. Here you see we went overboard and couldn’t fit everything in.

Look at all that loot!!

Christmas Day the temperature dropped, and a promise of real, actual snow was in the forecast. I heat with wood, so we were all chilly till I got the fire going.

Racecar is staring into the flames, willing the stove to heat the house faster.
Tara got her to turn around for a photo, but she immediately went back to staring at the fire.
Christmas Morning, Tara is in a blanket waiting to begin with the stockings. You can see my big box in front. What IS it?!
Cold kiddo.

We made the most of our gift exchange, taking turns with our stockings, appreciating each tiny treasure, one at a time. Remembering stories for why the things were special, and talking about what our plans were for each one. Stockings empty, we did the same with wrapped gifts. This took us a couple of hours and two pots of coffee. After that we ate a big breakfast!

Tara helping Pedro find another box with his name on it.
And naturally, we were left with a big mess.

But look at that empty box in the photo above. That is what was inside the big Charlie Brown box. A new Air Fryer/Oven/Toaster Oven from Pedro!! I’m so excited. I’ve been thinking about getting one of these for more than a year, but just couldn’t decide. I got a nudge. Now I can hardly wait to try it out. It fries things with almost no oil, so you can make all those tasty crunchy things without the calories or the upset tummy from too much saturated fats.

It began snowing that night, and the day after Christmas, there was snow! And then it kept snowing. And day after day while the temperatures remained below freezing, it just kept snowing. The snow was mostly right here on my mountain, and for anyone to get down to the better roads in Portland and Corvallis, they had to get off my mountain with its steep hills. It was a little scary to get my guests out of here safely, but I can report that both Tara and Pedro are now safe in their own homes where there is no snow.

Here, however, there is still tons of snow. In fact, it is snowing right now, as I write. I’ll post pictures soon. Love you all, and Merry belated Christmas and since today is New Year’s Eve…Happy New Year!! Here’s hoping that 2022 will be the year when we get on top of this virus and begin easier lives with more hope and more joy.

13 thoughts on “Oh Christmas Tree

  1. Happy New Year, sweet lady. I miss you and wish you the very best that 2022 can bring. I’ve been watching your forecasts. That’s a lot of snow. I’ve been worried about H getting back to Portland with all the snow in the Sierras and Siskiyou pass. Looks like a perfect Christmas to me. There were minimal decorations anywhere here. It was a very un-Christmas this year. That makes the rest of them more precious. Let me know how you like the air fryer. Thinking about appliances myself. My new kitchen leaves a lot to be desired but it has the necessities. Stay safe with all that snow. Lots of hugs to all of you.

    1. Happy New Year Marlene!! I miss you too. I think I miss you more because I know you’re not coming back to Portland. *sigh* It’s an excuse to go to Arizona. Oh hey, I just remembered that I already have a trip to Arizona planned in April. I will extend it and visit you if at all possible! I hope H is ok on the highways. It’s hard to tell what conditions will be like this time of year, and in the mountains there can be tiny storms that aren’t seen by the radar, but they still mess up the roads. Yes, I had a perfect Christmas this year. I am still living in a dream and trying to soak it all up as long as the perfect days last. I’ve already used the air fryer, and learning a little at a time. Mine doubles as a toaster and also an oven, and I moved my old toaster into the garage so I could use the counter space. So far, it’s convenient as a toaster oven, since I can pop bread or tortillas in there for a couple minutes. I’ve used the air fryer to make a blooming onion, which was crunchy and delicious and I ate then entire thing! I bought some sweet potatoes for sweet potato fries. Pedro reminded me that the oven function can be handy too, for small things, like my baked parmesan-artichoke dip. Now I don’t have to heat the big oven for a small ceramic dish of dip. I’m still on training wheels, but I think the more I use it, the more I will figure out its potential in my kitchen.

      1. Can you send me a picture of the label and brand so I know what to look for. I’ll send you photos of the rooms in the apartment email. It’s pretty grim but I can afford it. I doubt the stove/oven will be very efficient.

  2. Ahh, what a sweet report. 🙂 It’s like being there with you guys. Just lovely. And tonight, only you and Racecar and chickens and snow? 😉 We’ll be there in 5.5 hours… In New Year, not in Oregon, sadly. 😀 Happily, happily! And thank you for the highlight of my year which was your visit!

    1. Darn! You had me excited about a visit there for a minute. 😉 Yes, only me and the critters here to celebrate the advance of the New Year, and I watched When Harry Met Sally and celebrated New Years with them in the movie. All of us were asleep by 10 pm. It was the best I could do. My neighbors were setting off fireworks all evening, starting about 6pm, and I woke up at some point with especially loud fireworks, so I assume that was the actual moment of the New Year, ha ha! Going to Italy and Slovenia and meeting all of you was the highlight of my year too, other than falling in love with Pedro, hee hee ❤

  3. Let it snow, let it snow let it snow! Happy New Year Crystal. Looks like you had a great Christmas along with Pedro and Tara. Oh yeah, and Racecar!. 🙂 Ours was special as well with our daughter, Tasha, her husband, Clay, and our two grandsons Ethan and Cody flying in from Virginia. They arrived in the middle of a heavy snowfall at 10 on Xmas Eve and I got to drive them the 30 miles home through it. Woohoo. I had one stiff drink when I got everybody safely here. They left our house yesterday at 3:00 AM. it wasn’t snowing, but it was icy on our driveway. I made Clay drive. Grin. (Tasha and Clay gave us and air fryer last year.) The very best to you, Pedro, Tara and Racecar in 2022, my friend. –Curt

    1. ❤ Aww, thank you Curt. It sounds like you had some pucker moments with your guests moving about safely too. I'm glad to hear everyone made it. I'm sure that stiff drink was helpful for the wind-down after you got home. I'm so happy to hear you were able to share the holiday with family. I did have a great Christmas. It was even better when compared to the previous year's Christmas, when I don't think I followed any traditions, definitely not stockings, which remained packed into the Christmas box. This year I found the absolutely perfect Christmas ornament for you and Peggy, and when I get around to it, I will ship it off. I think you will both love it. It's not like I planned to get you a gift, but sometimes a thing calls out to you and says, "Hey, so-and-so needs this." Viola. Do you guys use your air fryer much? I'm eager to learn mine. Best wishes for 2022 to you guys as well, and the birds and squirrels and deer.

      1. The perfect ornament. 🙂 We are looking forward to seeing it.
        We had the full shebang here as well, including stockings.
        The air fryer is fast and easy to use. We used it twice this last week. Thanks to Clay (Tasha’s husband), we are now outfitted with all of the latest kitchen gadgets.

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