You never had a real Christmas tree when you were a kid. Your childhood memories are filled with images of yourself as young boy, lugging from the basement the artificial tree that you had to beg your parents to buy. Every year, you put the tree up by yourself and solemnly trim it with your own decorations. And though there are never any presents under the tree, you figure that Santa is just waiting until the last possible moment. So on Christmas morning, you eagerly awaken and run to the tree that you erected by yourself in anticipation of this very moment. Underneath the tree, you find an envelope with your name on it. Imagining what kind of toy would fit in an envelope, you tear it open excitedly, only to discover a signed check from your parents. And though you're only 8 years old, you're not angry. You're just disappointed because you know your parents don't really understand what Christmas means to a young boy. But right there and then, you swear quietly to yourself that things will be much different when you have your own child.
It's over 25 years later. You're married to the BossLady and you have your own family now. Together, the two of you have a beautiful 10-week old daughter who melts your hearts with her smile. You remember your pledge to make Christmas a special event for your child so you decide to find her the greatest and grandest Christmas tree possible.
But you live in New York City. It's not like anywhere else in the country. And though you've lived all over the country, you still have antiquated notions of how your fellow citizens live. In your mind's eye, you have visions of people driving into the forest with their pick-up trucks and chopping down their own fir trees. You picture families in minivans, heading out to the local tree farm with Grandma while drinking apple cider and singing Christmas carols.
But things are different here in New York City. Here, you and your lovely wife head over to a nearby street corner, where a bunch of trees are lined up on the sidewalk. The annual tree lots are set up all over the city by enterprising Canadians or hustling New Yorkers. Starting in November, the sellers camp out in parked trucks 24 hours/day and sell trees around the clock to disgruntled New Yorkers desperate for some Christmas cheer. You wonder to yourself who the hell would camp out around the clock for a whole month in order to sell Christmas trees. But then you realize that the more important question is who the fuck would pay $20/foot for a Christmas tree? Like everything else in the big city, Christmas don't come cheap.
It's bad enough that you have to buy your tree on a street corner in front of a nail salon. But then you remember that buying a tree on the streets of New York is like conducting an undercover drug deal. No price is ever final until the cash and merchandise have exchanged hands. The cynic in you secretly hopes that the requisite Christmas tree haggling is some sort of historical homage to Jesus' days in downtown Jerusalem. But you know that you're not that lucky. So you go up to the gum-chewing, flannel-wearing, goatee-sporting, wanna-be-Green Day-looking, Canadian punk and start your negotiations. ("Yo, I'll give you $120 for the Douglas or $100 for the Balsam. What about those Noble firs? Got any of those? I'll pay double. $200? Fuck you! I can get 'em down the street for half that!")
After negotiating for your tree, you then haul it several blocks down the street to your apartment building. But the amazing thing is that, during these several blocks, the tree actually grows disproportionately. So after dragging it up to your apartment, you find that it's too tall for your Manhattan abode. You trim the top of the tree with a Peter Luger's steak knife while standing on your couch and having the dog pee on your leg. Meanwhile, the needles have scattered all over your apartment and your cashmere sweater is covered in sap.
You put up all the lights and decorations only to realize that your tree looks like a Jersey stripper wearing a bikini. In order to make this thing look good, you're going to need to cover it up a lot more. But you're too tired to head over to K-Mart so you go back over to the street corner where you bought the tree and you bargain for some more Christmas lights. You end up paying $20 for lights that you could have gotten for $4. You feel like you're on a bad episode of "The Apprentice."
You and the BossLady spend hours decorating the tree lovingly and with determination. Like you, her past Christmas memories are better off left in the past. So the two of you are are a formidable team. And moments later when you flick on the lights, the tree looks amazing. You're actually stunned by its absolute beauty. And in that one shining moment, you achieve redemption for all your past Christmas memores. You know that things really are different now. So as you and the BossLady stand silently in the dark and look at the fruits of your labor, you start feeling the Christmas spirit swell in your heart. And though your little 10-week old daughter can't truly appreciate it, you and the BossLady both bask in the glow of the lights and know that, like everything else to follow, you did it all for your little Peanut.
But in a way, you did it for yourself too.
(MetroDad, Johnny Walker and Phillip Morris would like to apologize for the lack of humor, sarcasm and caustic wit that this site has been known for. Stay tuned tomorrow when we return to our regularly scheduled programming of poop stories, breast-feeding jokes and parenting rants.)