In just 8 days, it will be Christmas and in Eastern North Carolina there are few Christmas trees to be found hanging around waiting to be adopted and dressed for the season. I find this odd since in my Nutmegger days, this is about when you might start looking for your tree. But here I find that Tarheels are likely to have their tree up before the Thanksgiving leftovers are cold.

This morning I mentioned that I hadn’t gotten my tree yet to my friend, Wendy who owns a garden center and has lived here for almost 20 years, she replied that there were just 2 trees left on her lot and no more were coming in.

She now has only one tree, the other is standing proudly in my living room.  I walked in to tree gallery and took the shorter of the two. It is a fat little tree, or maybe I should call it lush, but neither word has a very positive connotation. I could call it full, but that sounds like I’ve been feeding it and I haven’t… I’ve only watered it. This had to be the easiest Christmas tree hunt ever.

I have scrounged for a tree on Christmas Eve in Frankfurt, Germany and enlisted friends to help carry the scrawny tower back to my billet. I have hunted for trees that required driving many miles with malcontents who would rather have been home with the Sunday paper. And one year, I must have looked quite pitiful, because when I went to pay for the tree, the woman charged me half price, which was truly a needed gift.

I remember one crystallized Connecticut tree hunt in 2003. We had a rough season of more icy rain than snow but still about an ankle depth of powder lying around. My husband and I bundled up in layers with the required boots, gloves, hats, and scarves to protect us from the slashing wind and below freezing temps. Looking like we had just shoplifted the Goodwill store we headed out in the sunshine to the nearby tree farm to cut our own. The trees were planted like soldiers marching down the hillside to the nearby river. We scooted down the slope; he carried the saw and I watched my step.

We caught up with a Dad and his four snowgear-bound kidlets the oldest being about 8 and the others trailing the one before by about 2 years. I surmised that Mom was home with the new baby and grateful for the holiday interlude.

We greeted the family, and discussed what we knew about the trees and then turned to find our murder victim. And as we started down the path again, I performed a marvelous unintentional pratfall with both feet flying out from under me, punctuated by a loud “WHOOPS!!!!”, and finally splatting flat on my back.

My husband, the Dad, and the quartet all saw it happen and stifled their guffaws until they knew I was unhurt. It was pretty darn funny for me, too. Looking at their faces as they struggled to be politely concerned while really wanting to double over at my acrobatics made me start laughing. Fortunately, I had no injury except to my ego.

I hope that I am a silly Christmas memory for that family, because that is one tree hunt that still stands out for me. And the tree was nice, too!