The smell of fresh cut wood, cinnamon and coffee filled up the room. Dimming the lights, the place really had been transformed. The lights and cranberries strung on the window emitted a small, soft glow that was pleasant to sit in each and every night. But that was crap compared to what presented itself in the corner of the living room. Where an old (probably smelly) arm chair had once been, there now stately stood a beautiful balsam fir tree, complete with ornaments from Goodwill – many of them souvenirs to places I had never been or labelled with the names of uncles or nieces or pets I will never be related to – and silver tinsel and colorful lights. We had searched high and low, near and far, to find the perfect tree. And this beautiful balsam from the Twin Lakes area fit the bill. Full, tall, dark and handsome, it made the perfect addition to the 206 5th street house.
The tree in it’s prime, on Christmas morning
That was over 3 months ago.
Maybe it was the special winter feeling (that comes with having a tree) that we didn’t want to get rid of. Maybe it was the emotional attachment we had from spending countless hours with it – laughing, crying, simple silence, the best of times and the worst of times. The tree played, and continues to play, such a large role in all of our lives.
But like a sunny day that eventually turns into a dark night, we knew that the tree had to come to an end. Its problems were minimal and nearly unnoticeable at first – a few dropped needles here, little complaints about lack of water there – but eventually turned into a waterfall of catastrophe, complete with a full-blown alcoholism lifestyle that developed under the circumstances. I still remember the first time I came across our poor balsam completely hammered and unkempt. It was in the early hours of the morning and I had braved getting up from the comfort of my warm bed to use the toilet downstairs. As I reached the bottom of the stairs and craned my neck into the living room, there it was. The tree was drunk and had passed out. Its stand had become wobbly and unsteady, the tree now laying horizontal across the carpet and its only support coming from the kitchen table, on top of which it was puking its needles out all over the place. I stood there, speechless, wondering how this happened. What do I so wrong for this to happen? Was I setting a bad example for the tree the whole time? How will I ever be a parent? Is this all my fault?
In pictures, and life, the tree appears happy, but its lights are only covering up layers upon layers of problems and deep-seeded depression
Seen here, the tree has given up hope (no lights on) and is left out of social activity – a vital part of a healthy life for a tree
The tree was dropping more and more needles each day, and appeared to have an eating disorder. Its branches limp, its once shiny evergreen color now turning into a downward spiral of puke green. Its waxy, beautiful bark now dry and cracking.
It didn’t have a job, wasn’t attending classes, not helping to contribute at all to the house – and that’s when we made the decision. The tree has to go.
I thought back, looking for clues into what could have gone wrong. And it became clear that these problems had been ongoing for quite some time – I was just too blind to see it. Each day I get down on myself for letting the tree go as far as it did. But I know that I can’t take back what has happened, and each day I get through is another day that makes me a little stronger.
So that is why I posted it on the “Free” section of Craigslist. I have had a few leads of interest develop, but none of them have made up their decision yet. That is why I am writing this post. If you are or know of someone who is need (or want) of a used but very rare and unique Christmas tree, please let me know. If you are a good home in need of a tree, respond to my Craigslist ad here. Also, Goodwill does NOT take real used Christmas trees as donations (just fair warning).