It’s a tradition in our family the first week of December to go out in search of the perfect Christmas tree for my parents home. My mom gives the marching orders, reminding us of the tree requirements and we high tail it to the nearest tree lot.
The tree needs to be between 86″ and 88″ (just shy of 7 ft) with a 9″ base, a medium-sized body, good colouring, no patches or holes with a “nice top”. This obsession with the perfect tree runs in the family.
My mom loves to tell the tale of the year my nan had my grandpa go out three times and buy three different trees, as the first two, after being fully decorated, fell short of her standards. She didn’t like the third, either, but she thought a fourth trip might be excessive. She also had explicit instructions for how the ornaments should adorn the tree. Tinsel was to be placed on one piece at a time, and no space could be left unfilled by ornaments. So we come by it naturally, this perfect tree obsession of ours.
Christmas Trees have been exported from Nova Scotia since around 1922. Many locals know of the famed Boston Tree we select and send to our neighbours to the south every year, but I had no idea just how important the Christmas Tree industry is to Nova Scotia.
I have been working closely with The Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia as one of our partners for the Local Wishlist and I’ve been learning a lot about how my family tradition supports our economy. For instance, I had no idea that more than 1,100 Nova Scotian families depend on the Christmas tree industry for all or part of their income. You can read more fun facts about Nova Scotia Christmas Trees here: 10 Reasons To Feel Really Great About Your Nova Scotia Christmas Tree
But back to our tree…
Yesterday, my dad, my sister, Drew, Charlie and I all piled into the car and headed up the Herring Cove Road on a hunt. My sister always ends up picking the tree. I try every year to insert my opinions but in the end she is just better at it.
“There is a reason I always pick out the tree” she reminded me, after I made a few attempts at spotting the real deal.
Charlie, who loves the smell of pine and fir, spent the whole trip nose to the ground completely overwhelmed and overjoyed with his luck. After a little help from the tree lot owner, we settled on our tree, a $30 blue/green beauty just shy of 7 ft.
It ended up being a little too tall, nothing a pair of garden shears couldn’t fix.
And after a few more discussions on how best to place lights on a tree (My cousin says they need to go up the centre and then around the branches. Drew said the secret is in walking in a circle and unwrapping the cord) we were done.
Of course we still have the actual decorating to do. That will happen in about a week, and will be accompanied by carols and cocktails.
Do you have Christmas tree traditions? Let me know about it in the comments below!