As long as I can remember, my Dad has always insisted that we have a real Christmas tree. Not that unusual I'm sure except for the fact that he never buys one! Before I paint the wrong picture here, let me share my dad's theory. Up where he lives, they are surrounded by State Forest and until recently it was towering with 100 year old Eucalyptus trees and ferns (since Black Saturday, we are only now starting to see a few saplings rise through the scorched, black earth). My father is a pragmatist and can see no issue with ridding the State Forrest of 'noxious' and 'introduced' Pine Tree species.
As kids, the first day of December signalled an adventure. Dad would bundle us up in the car at night and drive for what seemed like an hour to a secret spot he'd be surveying for months where he'd spotted THE Christmas tree! THE tree was always off a track surrounded by heavy scrub that would scratch our bare legs as we fought through the foliage to reach our destination. He'd then carefully saw at its trunk, stopping every now and again to listen for any passing cars. Once down, we'd throw the tree under our collective arms and run like the wind back to the car. It is easily the one event in my life where I've lived on the wild side. I'm conservative by nature and acquiring a tree when everyone else is asleep felt really scary, if not a little thrilling. Dad always got cross when we mentioned the word stealing, reminding us that we were in fact renegade environmentalists!
The next morning we'd look over our prize catch, only to realise it was a mutt of Christmas tree. Typically, it would have big gaping holes around its trunk and be full of spiders, ants and unidentified creepy crawlies that only a protected eco-system could support. We'd try to jazz it up with decorations but it would look pathetic with a massive lean to one side. I always felt sorry for the tree. Amongst its own, it was probably very happy and inconspicuous. In our living room, it stood out like a poor little skinny kid with a big head.
If your Christmas includes a few escapades, and you have a story to share, I'd love to hear it!