Society & Culture

Selecting the PERFECT Christmas Tree, by An Anonymous Husband

Editor’s note: this essay was submitted by a Vermont husband after I solemnly pledged his anonymity. You’ll see why.)

Three days before Christmas, with the wind wailing and a blizzard blasting the snow already solidified below zero, she decides it is the ideal time to go get a Christmas tree at a nearby garden center. Just as late as so many other years before.

He had been badgering her to buy one right after Thanksgiving when they newly appeared on the lot and the weather was warmer and the selection was greater but she said she would wait because she wanted her tree to be fresh. When he insisted they were all cut before Thanksgiving and wouldn’t be any fresher, she decreed they would and like every other year he couldn’t win.

So again this year he will drive to the lot where dozens are all lined up in rows. She will sit cozy in the car with the engine running and the heater on. He will lug them one by one to the window, wishing for her early approval, but it will take many trips back and forth and frozen fingers before she relents and reluctantly settles for a Fraser fir, which she declares is quite less than perfect. He really can’t see much difference in any of them. Adorned with decorations, who can tell? He recalls the Joyce Kilmer line, “Only God can make a tree,” and thinks that only she could make one better. In fact, several times in years gone by, she insisted he transplant some branches from the back against the wall so that the presentation in front would be one of perfection.

But wait. He wins a reprieve. This year she decides to take the grown daughter to help her choose. The girl will make the many miserable trips to the car window. Her mother will select the perfect specimen, pay for it, have it tagged “sold” with their name. When the two of them return after hours of shopping and hand him the receipt, he will drive his hatchback down there and haul it home.


Not so fast.

Not so good.

The man who runs the place claims he has already picked up his tree and what kind of fast one is he trying to pull. Turns out some crook saw the paid tag and snatched the Fraser fir less than an hour ago.

Furious, he slaps the receipt on the counter. Then he grabs one closest at hand, throws it into the hatchback and beats it back home. He sinks the but in a bucket of water in the garage and ponders what he will tell her and the daughter.

What kind of story will he tell to save himself?

He finally decides.


Christmas Eve he takes it in and sets it in the stand without a word.

I’m so glad, she says, that you weren’t there this year to rush me into a decision.

It’s perfect.

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