My father takes his Christmas trees seriously- very seriously – some may in fact characterize him as obsessed. As far as he is concerned there is only one type of tree that can be used as a Christmas tree – an alpine fir – he considers the use of any other tree (a spruce for example) sacrilege. At first glance, while a little picky, this doesn’t seem too over-the-top…it becomes so when you realize that Whitehorse is surrounded on all sides for almost 100 km in spruce, while alpine fir can only be procurred at the top of an innaccessible road during the winter (take my word for it that it’s a really long hike – especially pulling a tree) or from the summit of the pass to Skagway, Alaska about 150 km away over roads that are never in ideal driving conditions once the snow flies. Because of their inaccessible nature that become progressively less so as winter takes its course, my father always insists on getting the Christmas tree early in November and then storing it outside until it’s time to bring it inside to decorate. And it’s my job to help.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the father-daughter bonding time, playing with the family dog in the snow, and I do love Christmas trees, but I can’t help but consider each year how much easier the whole process would be if he would just settle for a spruce. This thought was running through my head as we drove by literally millions of spruce trees yesterday to get our two alpine firs (one for Tyler and I and one for my parents). Once we reached the alpine fir territory and waded around in wet snow for quite a while (our dog Meade was turned into a tiny snow ball as her fir caught all of the snow she bounded through), we finally found two trees. Mine, although taller than me, was still easily manouverable, and I could literally carry it out of the woods on my shoulder. My Dad’s…well, not so much…let’s just say it was well over his head (and he’s over 6 feet) and very bushy…so in other words it was very heavy and very cumbersome…it took exhausting amounts of work to drag it out and get in on the roof of the car. You would think that as we drove home, and all of the snow from Meade’s fur melted out of her, soaking and freezing my legs, that I would level a decree that next year we would be settling for spruce…but the big grin on his face silenced my tongue, remnding me that sometimes the exasperation is really worth it in the end.