The Christmas Tree Ritual

When I was a child, we used to have the same Christmas tree buying ritual almost every year.
My father would drive us out into the country to buy a tree. It always seemed like quite a long drive but it probably wasn’t that far.
Before we left, my mother would say, “Don’t get too big a tree, Chris. Not like last year.”
And my father would say, “No dear. Nothing too big.”
When we got to the tree-sale, he’d select a tree, starting with a

New Yorkers Shop On The Street For Christmas Trees

tiny one, and say, “this one?” and we’d say, “No! Bigger!” and he’d select another one, and say “This one?” and we’d say, “No! Bigger!” and round and round we’d go.
By the time we got home with the tree on the roof rack of our VW Variant, the chosen tree rarely fitted in the room, and the top had to be bent or sometimes even cut off. Mum would complain. Dad would say something like, “The small one’s didn’t look good, did they?” and he’d give us a wink.
I can never buy a small Christmas tree. And I can never buy a big Christmas tree without thinking about my dad.
You left us too soon, Dad. You really did.

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