Before Christmas is over (well, it officially is, I guess, but I tend to keep the Christmas magic around for a little longer than most people. And since in Germany, we keep our trees up until January, 6th (Epiphany)), I thought I’ll quickly tell you the story of this year’s Christmas tree.
I’ve lamented over the years that we never had a nice Christmas tree. We didn’t bother getting one during the years when we traveled for Christmas, and when we ended up staying home for the holidays for the first time in 2014, we lived in a small apartment and didn’t really have space for a Christmas tree. However, that year, I insisted that we get at least a small (fake) tree to put on the sideboard. Oh, I loved this tree with a passion.
The next year, when we stayed put for the holidays, I got out that small (fake) tree again and told myself that “it’ll do” since it is just one Christmas, and next year, we’ll be traveling again. I didn’t know that 2014 was going to be the first year in a row of years that we wouldn’t – for one reason or another – be able to spend Christmas with our families.
Fast forward to this year, when it became clear that the pandemic would last much longer than anticipated and that we would once again not be able to travel for the holidays. I decided that this was the time to invest in a tree a little bit bigger and a little bit nicer for the holiday season.
Of course, in real San fashion, I couldn’t make a decision about what kind of tree I wanted and I wanted to shop around a bit, and when I finally made up my mind (that I wanted that 4.5 ft-tall balsam fir tree from Target) three weeks before Christmas, the tree was sold out everywhere. Go figure.
However, there was one tree left on display at our local Target. When I had inquired about this tree the week before, I was told by one of the Target team members that they wouldn’t be selling the display trees, at least not before the end of the holiday season. At that time, I still had hoped to find it (or another acceptable tree) at a different Target/store. I went to two other Targets and checked out trees at two other stores, but no luck. By then, I was really set on this tree from Target.
So, two weeks before Christmas, I went back to my local Target with a mission. I was determined – if the tree was still on display – to talk someone into selling me that damn tree. It didn’t really make sense to me that they’d keep a tree displayed in the store they had run out of stock off and of which they wouldn’t get any more deliveries. What’s the point of having a tree on display that they wouldn’t be able to sell anymore anyway?
I saw the same young woman that had previously told me that they wouldn’t be seeling the display trees, but since I had noticed that the display area had been reduced since the last time I was there two weeks earlier (so, were they selling them after all?), I decided to approach a different Target team member with my inquiry. I found a very nice, helpful young man who’s initial response was that he “didn’t think they would sell the display trees”, but who was willing to let me show him the tree that I wanted and take it up the chain to ask about their policy.
When he realized that there were no more boxes of that particular tree, he talked to a colleague through his hand-held radio, and when he agreed that he could probably sell me the display tree if there weren’t any boxes available anymore, the young man went straight to work to unplug the string lights and load the tree into my cart.
He asked me twice if I was okay with him putting the tree in my cart like this (yes!) and buying it without a box (yes, yes!) and if I was going to be able to get it to and into my car (three times yes!) and I just thanked him profusely for letting me buy the tree and quickly made my way to the checkout before anybody else could stop me.
Tbh, I had been ready to argue my way up to the manager and to plead with them and threaten that they were going to ruin my Christmas if they didn’t let me buy this tree (lol), but it didn’t even have to come to that. I was just so elated!
I was smiling from ear to ear when I walked out to the parking lot.
This tree is everything I wanted and it reminds me so much of the “Nordmann firs” we would have for Christmas at my parents’ house growing up.
We used to have a real tree every year and my parents would get it a few days before Christmas (traditionally, in Germany, we don’t decorate the tree until the morning of Christmas Eve) and while I’d love to have a real tree one of these days, I am perfectly happy with this fake tree for the foreseeable future (and also with decorating it early).
I don’t know why Christmas trees make me so happy, and even though we’ve spent many Christmases alone by now, it really made a big difference to have a bigger, nicer tree in our home during this weird holiday season.
How do you feel about your Christmas tree?