The Christmas tree and the last stand you'll ever buy: Matt's Memo

The freshly fallen snow sat delicately on the firm branches of the evergreen tree in the fading light of a December afternoon. Snow off of Lake Ontario dropped half a foot of snow shortly before we arrived at Spring Pond Farms searching for our nearly perfect blue spruce. This classic species for a Christmas tree is still the favorite in our household, even though we largely live in a Frasier Fir world.

Spring Pond Farms is in Mexico. Nothing like getting your Christmas tree in a place called Mexico that is covered in snow. William Ruby owns the place. He helped us cut our own tree, bailed it and boosted it up on the roof of the car. All the while he told us stories about shipping a Christmas tree to his grandchildren in Hawaii and giving away trees free of charge to any soldier who comes down from Fort Drum.

The tree itself is gorgeous. It stood more than twelve feet tall in the field. We trimmed it back to less than nine feet buy the time we got it home. This spruce is overtly blue. It is as full bodied as a fine Bordeaux wine. It weighs a ton. Considering the increasing rarity of a blue spruce on a tree farm it is a sight to behold when we discover the right one.

As for putting the new tree up in the stand, that's a whole other story.

There's only one way to ensure that the purchase of a Christmas tree stand lives up to the marketing on the box. You know the line they write to convince you their tree stand is better than the others: "This is the last Christmas tree stand you'll ever buy!" The only way that line proves to be true is if you never buy another stand. At some point they all fail.

The last tree stand purchase I made was six or seven years ago. One of those giant plastic stands allowed our decorated blue spruce to tumble to the family room floor nearly impaling the family dog. That's when I went in search of a heavy duty metal model. It said right there on the side of the box "This is the last Christmas tree stand you'll ever buy!" I vowed it would be.

That tree stand held up well for many a Christmas until we brought home this year's nine foot blue spruce. I attached the stand to the base of the tree with the spruce still out in the garage. As I tilted from horizontal to vehicle the tree kept leaning. I realized I would have to start over.

When I laid the tree back on the floor I noticed something wrong with the tree stand. The heavy metal cylinder that holds the tree in the center was cockeyed. The torque of the hefty tree leaning bent the stand. That "last Christmas trees stand you'll ever buy" could no longer lay claim to that title. I needed a new one.

I sampled the options online and made the rounds to hardware, garden and home stores. Ultimately I purchases a tree stand made of steel with a giant heavy metal cup with brass support screws. You know what it says on the outside of the box? "This is the last Christmas stand you'll ever buy?"


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