Every time we’ve had a real Christmas tree it has fallen down, and some of them have fallen more than once. One of our most spirited trees ended up tethered to a doorknob because it found its way to the floor so many times. We haven’t had a live tree since.
This year, in a new place and all out of sorts with our regular traditions, we decided to go to a local Christmas tree farm and pick one out.
The hunt was fun, and it didn’t take the kids long to agree on a tree.
Matt cut it down, and we carried it out. Well, Alyssa and Wyatt carried it out. It might look pretty bad that the two smallest members of the family were the ones lugging the tree, but they did ask to do it.
The nice people who owned the farm put the tree on a shaker* to get the stray needles off, and then used a wench to run it through a netter*.
Then, just like the Griswolds, we tied it down on top of our family truckster, er Yukon, and headed home.
After much work and determination, the tree was in the stand and we started decorating.
When we finished, we agreed that the whole experience had been just as wonderful as we had anticipated. We were already making plans to do it again next year when Dylan asked me if I knew why his best friend’s family stopped buying real trees.
I didn’t, and I asked why. I really wish I hadn’t asked why.
“Because it was infested with spiders.”
I was hoping, hoping that it was a joke or a trick, or anything but the truth, because the possibility of a spider infested tree was more than I could bear.
“I think they all have spiders,” Dylan added.
Why didn’t he tell me this before we got the tree?
Surely our tree was okay. I didn’t want to look, but it was like rubbernecking at a car wreck. I had to.
And there they were — with one glance I saw at least half a dozen tiny little gray spiders camouflaged on one branch of our tree. Who knows how many more were there because that’s when the involuntary flailing-squealing-shiver-shake-my-hair-out dance started. I couldn’t control it. I hadn’t just decorated the tree. I’d had my arms all the way inside that tree, I had been underneath the thing getting it into the stand.
Oh, the horror.
Let me give you some advice. If you are ever faced with a situation like this, once you regain your faculties, DO NOT SEARCH THE INTERNET. If you did, you would find here and here and here that spiders in Christmas trees are the norm and for the most part, there’s no good way to get them out, except shaking the tree before bringing it inside. (The shaking is not just for the needles! And it doesn’t help!)
Matt refused to take down our decorated tree, and I had to live with knowing those things were sitting there, watching me. This is what I found the next morning:
They were taunting me.
My only hope was that they would eventually die, so I investigated again after a few more days. Have you ever gone outside in the dark and used a flashlight to find beady little spider eyes glowing back at you? There was no way I was sticking my head in there again, so I figured that would be a good way to check.
Here’s another tip: if you know there are spiders in your tree, don’t shine a light on it thinking it will make you feel better. It won’t.
I have never been happier to take down my tree. And I’ve never done so much involuntary dancing while doing it.
Next year, I’m going tree hunting at Wal-Mart.
* Denotes my very official made-up machinery names.