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Going Half-hog With a Nordmann

December 7, 2020

On a quiet Tuesday, a week ago, Jim and I decided to get our Christmas tree. The pandemic has affected tree buying, too. Of course. This will be a year when Christmas is just Jim and me.. Peter won’t be home. Since the beginning of time, Christmas has not been just the two of us. Not a soul will enter our house during the holidays. We both feel like soldiering on and making something of the holiday even so.. but it’s not gonna be the same without Peter and I’m finding it hard–even wrong–to go whole hog. He should be here.

So we’re going half hog.

For the last umpteen years, we’ve gone to Silveyville. For the first bunch of those years, we cut a tree from their vast acreage; in later years we opted–when available–to go with a Silvertip. Silveyville sold Silvertips as part of their fresh cut offering… these cut and trucked in from Oregon. Silvertips are harder to come by than most. Typically Silveyville had a relative few, if they had them at all.

We’re not so much snobby about our Christmas tree choice as traditional. Silvertip was the kind of tree my grandparents used to get. My grandpa, per Danish tradition, used to carefully place candles (in specially designed holders) on the stiff, horizontal branches of his (and my grandma’s) tree and it was a great ritual to gather around and watch him light the tree and then to methodically snuff the candles out when they got dangerously low. In between the lighting and the snuffing, in a huge living room illuminated by candles only, there was lots of oohing and ahhing, and there were carols. My grandma would accompany on the piano (the very piano that is in our home now).

See? Super nice memory, right? Who wouldn’t want a Silvertip?

But, for us, it was never about the candles (I’m not sure why.. that’d have been very cool!). Silvertips are a nice choice because they have a lot of space between the branches which makes hanging ornaments easier. I like the way each ornament can hang and swing freely… as god intended!

Here’s a pic of a typcial Silvertip. This one’s narrow, but you can see the branches are stiff and spaced out (optimal for candle purposes).

Anyway, back to our pandemic Christmas and half-hog tree buying. We decided not to go all the way out to Silveyville, opting instead for the nursery at Davis Lumber. They had a bunch of nice trees and we decided to go with a Nordmann. Had never heard of Nordmann fir trees, but there they were. (I’ve since read that they are popular in Germany and, bonus, don’t drop their needles.) My goal was to trim it, literally, to come as close to the qualities of a Silvertip as possible. Seemed doable.

So here is the before shot:

Jim put it in a bucket of water until we were ready to bring it in. A couple days later, I started the trimming process:

And today, I finished the butchering. We brought it in and got it settled into its spot.

Tomorrow Jim and I will get the lights and wooden beads up, I’ll decorate it and get the tree skirt in place. All told, that oughta take about 15 minutes! It will look a bit more festive… a picture sure to follow.

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