The Search For The Perfect Christmas Tree, Part 2

One of several palm trees at McDonald's decorated with Happy Meals. I went back the next day to take a proper photo (this one was from car window) but it had rained. All very sadly gone...

The first Saturday in December (82, sunny, stiff breeze – almost made me forget August), I was talking to a friend on the tennis courts (thwack) and asked about Christmas trees. When would they arrive on island and where should we get them? “Oh, we got our tree last week. But don’t worry, they usually have some left.” Thwack. What?! At our old stateside house, we were lucky if we managed to get a tree the week before Christmas (we had small babies then – that was my excuse; before children we didn’t even bother). Not only did I have to get my act together, I had to do it NOW so as not to end up with the sad twiggy-tree that once might have held needles. It’s just hard to imagine imminent holidays with this weather. Thwack. And not 5 minutes later, my phone rang with another friend saying she got the email about the other trees arriving on island…

BG checking out what Martha Stewart and Jaclyn Smith have to offer Kmart.

There are exactly two places to get imported fir trees on St. Thomas. Cost-U-Less – sort of like Costco crossed with BJs (without the vast selection) – sells them right inside the store’s entrance (too hot outside, I guess). They have them early and carry them, I’ve been told, right up until Christmas. They – wait for it – “cost less,” and as I heard oft-repeated, “they’re fine, they’ll do.” But I wanted more than “they’ll do,” and “should have needles left on Christmas morning.” I wanted to check out the other place, the elusive tree sale that is heralded via email: the fir tree ‘Brigadoon.’ This fleeting vendor is to be found in the parking lot of:

“…that dry cleaner, the one across and down from the big Kmart. You know, O.Henry’s. No? Um, next to where they’re going to build the Walgreens? Okay there, to the left.” (Perfect example of island directions, but that’s another story).

There is an email list, and those in the know get told in advance what day the two refrigerated trucks filled with trees will arrive (on a boat, of course). The trucks stay for several days, or until the trees disappear. The first day (a Tuesday, oddly enough) I set out mid-day to see about a tree.

Brigadoon: A 1954 musical about a mystical village that appears out of the Scottish fog once every 100 years, with a love story and dancing thrown in. Great if you like that sort of thing.

I had decided in advance that if I didn’t find what I was looking for (short yet full, and something that would fit on top of a large chest away from grabby BB hands) I would go the artificial route. At any rate, Cost-U-Less didn’t have that size when I checked. I would never have considered artificial before, but many people here like fake trees since they last, look pretty, and involve no stress; they also end up being a much more economical option in the long run (Cost-U-Less, Home Depot, and Kmart all have them, FYI). This time however, I was in luck. There were four short trees, and though I was told there might be more inside the trucks, we would have to wait until they were gradually unearthed – possibly hours or days. No time for that. The guy helping me, Australian I think, swore up and down that these Douglas Firs imported from the Appalachians of West Virginia (pedigreed!) would not drop a needle. Not. One. Needle. Good enough for me! I was now on the email list, and sold. And so sold, that I bought another (sacrificial) one for the children’s playroom. I bet that one loses needles…

Our trees in temporary beachwear bauble. And we do have some pruning to do...

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2 Responses to The Search For The Perfect Christmas Tree, Part 2

  1. lilian arguello says:

    i love it !!!!
    i am glad u got 2 trees!!! keep sharing … i am sooo jealous let me tell you, its freezing in nyc!!!!

  2. lilian arguello says:

    ps: big hug and kiss

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