“I don’t like to kill Christmas trees”. This is what I am hearing from the back of the van, in plain English too, because Oliver’s 10 year old cousin is in the car and we have been conversing in English. This is a direct quote … from me. We have just visited the only Christmas tree farm that was open three days before Christmas in Half Moon Bay area, a big and cheezy place called Santa’s  Christmas tree farm.

I know Oliver would love to chop down a tree, he would love to saw it right down with that red sharp tool we have been given and he has admired for a while. We have visited the trees, we have walked and looked at them. Oliver and his cousin have chosen some that they like. But I cannot force myself to cut one down. I explain… about how I feel that 1) they are too expensive (and they are  – 70 dollars for a decent tree) and 2) how I feel like they are alive, how I would like to grow one in a pot.

Regarding the potted tree, I have been reading online prior to this journey.  Here are two websites about it: first with general information, second – a one man’s experience in colder climate (so that would be interesting to my Latvian readers). But there is no place to replant one, so I am not sure.

My husband’s relatives (who are from India, where a real spruce cannot be gotten for sure) have suggested that we use a plastic tree. That would be indeed ecological, but I a huge wave of resistance swells up inside me. I love the way Christmas tree smells. I enter the room where a fresh Christmas tree has been put up like  a shrine. I visit the room several times, I look, I smell, I decorate.  I am in awe of a fresh Christmas tree, as if there was a special presence in the room.

In the USA, people put up Christmas trees a day after Thanksgiving or soon after. I am not used to that. We buy (or cut, every family is allowed to cut one spruce in a state forest in Latvia) a couple of days before Christmas, so it still smells like the spruce needles on the day (or eve which we primarily celebrate) of Christmas and also it is not such a great fire-hazard to use real candles that most Latvians still do, when the tree is still fresh. And the smell is amazing.

We end up buying an already cut Christmas tree with a 35 per cent discount. Kids are pretty happy. They don’t seem to be traumatized by not being able to chop the tree down themselves. But our little tree does not smell or just barely. It has probably been cut down 3 weeks ago, when most people bought their trees, it does not take in any of the the water I have poured in the tray. It is essentially dead. And I feel sad.

And I decide that I will most certainly buy a live Christmas tree next year, because we have the permission to  plant it on a property of our friends now. I guess that means no live candles as not to hurt it. And will it smell like Christmas?