Christmas at the Papier household wouldn't be Christmas without the annual pilgrimage to the Christmas Tree Farm. It is a drama that is as much a part of our Christmas as Christmas Eve Caroles. It involves many, uncomplicated yet action-packed stages.
Preliminary Stage(s): Many weeks spent buttering up (read "wearing down") Mr Cakes, convincing him that a real tree is so much better than the store bought variety. The smell now evokes all sorts of wonderful memories of Christmases past, akin to the luscious fragrances of gingerbread and Sangria. You can't get that in a can.
Stage One: Book shared family trailer which lives out it's populous existence at my father-in-law's house. The dear man, there is nothing that he wouldn't do for us at the drop of a hat.
Stage Two: Drive out to the farm and spend much time choosing the perfect tree. Record: 42 minutes.
Stage Three: Find an enthusiastic attendant who is willing to shed personal body weight, equivalent to that of a small baby, in sweat cutting, sawing and, finally, hacking down the tree for us - by hand!!! I hope that Santa brought him a chainsaw for Christmas. You can locate said attendants roaming about the farm by looking up to the heavens and sighting their measuring sticks - seemingly gliding about as if they have legs of their own. They resemble, from this angle, Wizard Whitebeard.
Stage Four: Carry heavy, heavy tree back to the trailer, pay the ransome fee and drive it home, hoping that not too much foilage is lost in the 40 minute return journey.
Stage Five: Watch Mr Cakes untie the baby, now Christened with a name for it indeed has become a member of the family.
Stage Six: Teamwork. All hands on deck. We try and impale the tree onto a nail set inside a stand, designed specifically for this purpose, whilst simultaneously yelling (mostly unhelpful) advice at each other about the current angle of the tree. True festive magic now.
Finally, we all emerge from under the tree. Hot, bothered, some of us - bleeding, pulling needles from parts of our body and clothing that I will not mention here.
Like our very own construction within Pisa, we watch the tree incline over the ensuing week, catch it as it falls to the floor, mop up the water which has poured out of the well and right the tree again. We do this at least twice. We are a family truly united now.
Now it can be decorated and it is ready for it's close up Mr DeMille.
|Did I mention that it's only 3 metres tall?|
That's because we ran out of ceiling height.
I fear that Mr Cakes, given the chance, would have gone taller!!
"Was it worth it?" I hear you ask.
You tell me.