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THE CHRISTMAS TREE LOT – And you think healthcare is expensive. 

For the past several years, my wife and I have spent Christmas in Dallas. This year we will be at our home in Tyler, a city of 100,000, 90 minutes to the east.  On Christmas night, we will host a dinner for friends so I am spending the weekend here to help decorate the house, including acquiring a Christmas tree.  Actually, I am here to bring the tree into the house and to put on the lights, something that is apparently way outside my wife’s job description. 

treeIn search of the perfect Christmas tree on a cold, raining/sleeting early evening, my wife and I ventured to a large tent – really a series of tents – located on an enormous vacant lot on the city’s Loop.  There were big trees with big price tags and there were smaller, flocked trees, mostly in white, but some in shocking neon alternatives – the pinkest of pinks, a gaudy, ugly purple, and a bizarre shade of blue. To each his own, but I am betting that the $750 tree will be sold long before those colorful little would-be orphans are snapped up.

Lest I sound like a Grinch (the last time we bought a tree it was only $45) I am still holding on to the spirit of thankfulness from the holiday just past.  I am thankful that you do not have to buy a Thanksgiving tree, too.

The most impressive trees on the lot were Noble firs.  They are the classic Christmas tree, the kind you might see on a Hallmark card or in a Norman Rockwell painting.  They are truly majestic, with beautiful fan-like branches that are layered symmetrically to form the perfect shape.  Trust me when I say that this level of holiday perfection, even on display in a tent with a dirt floor, comes with a nifty cost.  On the price continuum, when the word “Noble” is used in front of a tree’s type, the price is indeed royal.  The less noble, but still impressive looking Frazier firs are not nearly as expensive.  On Dec. 5, today, they all had been sold.  Go figure.

As I write this, the tree is in its stand in our living room, leaning ever so slightly to the right. It is ready for lights and decorations, but that is a job for tomorrow. Right now, I think I need to add more nog to my eggnog.