Shopping for a Christmas tree was one of the highlights of the year for the little Dale girls. We took great care in selecting the perfect tree. You'd never know it from this picture, would you? Good lord, it looks like the Charlie Brown tree a month after Christmas, shortly before it burst into flames.
But still. We loved shopping for Christmas trees.
And so, just in time, here is the Dale Girls' Guide To Buying A Christmas Tree:
1. Wait for the coldest day of the year. In Connecticut, this could occur in August. You just never know. Always be ready.
2. Run down the stairs all together, screeching, "WE HAVE TO GET A TREE!!! IT'S TIME!!! LET'S GO!!!"
3. Wait for daddy to pour just one more glass of funny-smelling stuff, which he claims he needs to keep his hands warm.
4. Drive to the Christmas Tree Farm. Back then, boys and girls, this was a place where they grew actual, real live trees. They were all green, and had this wonderful scent, and none of them rotated or played Christmas carols. Yes, I am very old.
5. Throw open the car doors and race through the maze of trees, yelling "THIS ONE! I FOUND ONE! IT'S PERFECT!" Drag your tree to the center so you can show the other sisters why yours is the best.
6. Argue until your teeth are chattering so violently, your woolen hat with the festive red pom-pom on top keeps flying off your head.
7. Reluctantly agree to buy your sister's dopey tree even though yours is clearly superior, because daddy is sitting in the station wagon, revving the engine violently.
8. Drag the tree to the car, hoist it into the back, instruct younger sisters sternly to grab a branch and hold on for dear life because Santa won't come if they lose the tree in the middle of the highway.
9. Drag the tree up the back stairs, into the house, through the narrow doorways, and into the living room. Flop it around until you locate the fullest side.
10. Push, pull, yank, swivel, stagger and sweat until tree somehow miraculously lands in tree stand. QUICK QUICK QUICK, tighten up the screws.
Then stand back to admire your fragrant, green, real-life, crooked, spindly, well-loved Christmas tree.
(p.s. - watch out for the pine needles all over the floor. they can be a little slippery.)