It was interesting to read Sam’s account (at A Coastal Plot) of buying her Christmas tree because it’s not something I ever do. So, in contrast, here’s the view from the other side of the sales counter. Our visitors’ ages range from babes in arms to the very aged. We have customers who love every glittering moment of Christmas celebrations and those who profess to detest the whole shebang. Let me introduce you to some of them.
Selina wafts into the barn in fur lined boots, layered knits and a cloud of expensive perfume. She heads straight for the eight foot trees and within moments has one of the Christmas Barn staff pulling out every tree in that section for her scrutiny. Trees that don’t meet her high standards are instantly dismissed until the choice is whittled down to two specimens which are rotated for her so she can view them from every angle. Decision made, she’ll ask for a few stray branches to be trimmed and a slice to be sawn from the base and then the tree is netted and taken to her car while Selina visits The Barley Barn to choose decorations.
Selina is a firm believer in perpetuating the myth that the Christmas tree is decorated by the tree fairies while children are at school and so her tree is beautifully co-ordinated with every bauble and light strategically placed and not a child produced cotton wool decorated snowman in sight. Sometimes Selina buys a small tree for her children to decorate but allows them only to buy decorations in this year’s colour scheme. And definitely nothing as tacky as a felt penguin or glittery peacock.
Man in the Van
Dave strides in five minutes before the Christmas Barn closes for the day under instructions from “the wife” to pick up a tree on his way home. He picks the first tree on the end of the row, pulls out a roll of notes to pay for it, doesn’t bother to have the tree netted because he’s in the work van and is out of the barn before closing time. Job done.
Babs and Brian choose their Christmas tree so that it can be up by the first of December. Babs would like an enormous tree but Brian would like a smaller tree. Babs wants a Nordman Fir so that the cat doesn’t poke its eye on sharp spruce needles but Brian prefers the smell of the Norway Spruce.
After a spirited discussion and perusal of the available trees, they compromise and decide to have an average height tree. Babs take charge, looking for “the one” while Brian trails behind. She dismisses all the Norway spruce as unsuitable and picks out a Nordman fir for Brian to hold, so that nobody else can take it, while she continues her search. Eventually Babs narrows her choice to four trees, which Brian guards and then has to hold up each in turn for her inspection, while keeping a close eye on the other three. Brian doesn’t appear to notice that someone has taken away one of the trees and then he mistakenly puts one back on the rack and loses track of it.
With only two to choose between, Babs finally decides and then, just to check, swaps places with Brian so he can confirm her choice. Not surprisingly, Brian agrees almost immediately that she has found the perfect tree.
The Jolly Family
Derek and Eileen have been coming here for nearly fifty years. They don’t like driving nowadays so their son and his family bring them along to continue the tradition of starting the Christmas season by choosing the Christmas tree en famille. This year they’ve been joined by their first great grandchild in one of those new-fangled car seats that turn into a pushchair.
Derek and Eileen no longer buy a Christmas tree but instead choose wreaths to lay on their parents’ graves while the younger generations, clad in their Christmas jumpers and jingling reindeer antlers, pick their trees amidst much jollity and photo snapping on their phones. There isn’t room in one of the cars for a tree and passengers so Derek and Eileen’s grandson puts down the roof of his Mini convertible, straps the Christmas tree into the passenger seat and drives off with a toot of his horn to his grandparents.
And also …
There is one family who always choose the ugliest tree they can find because otherwise nobody will pick it and it will have a sad Christmas all alone and another family who like to Lucky Dip by picking a tree that’s still in its net.
Mostly though, we have a steady stream of happy people spreading the Christmas spirit.