When we lived in the US, we were Christmas tree purists. We would drive out into the country, cut down a tree by ourselves (from a tree farm, though, not on the side of the road or anything), attach it to the top of our 2 door Honda Civic (with twine), and drive an hour back home, fingers crossed that it didn’t go flying off. (At least, most years, that’s what we did. I think we twice bought a tree from a tree lot and, maybe also twice, got a tree from a farm a little closer to our home.) It was kind of a point of pride, and also a fun tradition. We were so stuck in our tradition that we made the trip even on a horribly cold and fiercely windy day when Benjamin was only 4 months old (not a choice I would make again).
Here, without a car, and not wanting to try to find out how Austrians would react to someone putting a freshly cut pine tree on a train, we’ve gone the simple route. Tree lots here don’t pop up until mid-December (yesterday was the first day of business for most of them) but when they do, there’s one in front of a church less than a block from our front door. So, that’s where we search for our tree.
Christmas trees in Vienna are less full than what we’re used to at home. Last year, I was a little sad about it — I thought, “This doesn’t look right!” but then, after bringing it home and decorating it, I was very pleasantly surprised. Fewer branches mean fewer lights are required, and there are a lot of great spots to hang ornaments. I loved our tree last year, and I wanted to find one just like it this year.
We set out on our search. In all, the tree lot was only about the size of our living room, and once you eliminate the ones that are super small or way too big, we only really had a few to choose from. After a few minutes of debate, and some building grumpiness between Dan & I (if anyone knows how to select a Christmas tree with your spouse without anyone getting irritable, PLEASE share your secret), we selected the perfect Christmas tree. It was the one that both Dan & Benjamin voted for (Liam mostly wanted to try to run into the road, and didn’t seem to have a strong opinion otherwise). I love it, too. Of course, Christmas trees are like Halloween pumpkins — whichever one you pick ends up being great. It’s at least as beautiful as the one we had last year and is *exactly* the same height as our ceiling (particularly impressive because we forgot . . . again . . . to measure it).
It’s currently standing in the corner, absorbing water (hopefully). I was going to put lights on it, but the boys are napping, and Benjamin asked me not to do the lights without him. But here we are, with another perfect Christmas tree. The tree, and the method of acquisition, are quite different than what we used to do at home, but the result is pleasantly familiar. Christmastime is here!