When given the choice, the Little Lady decided that this year’s Christmas tree needed to be as tall as the one she had recently seen in a rather high ceilinged supermarket. After my initial frown of puzzlement, I worked out that she might not realise that our tree didn’t have to be quite as high as the one featured in her idyllic setting but could instead just reach the ceiling of our living room and so rather than a humble spruce this year we’ve gone big. The result? With only an inch or two to spare, once the fairy was in situ, the Little Lady was pleased.
The trouble though with going large is that there are consequences. The first challenge came in the fact that rather than it just being three of us this year, we had an addition and with her comes the car seat. So there is to be no more pushing down the back seat and hauling the tree in. Nope – this year it was a roof bars and bungee straps job. I won’t lie – I had a small fear that we may lose the damn thing before we even got off the car park but my fears were short lived and we made it home in one piece (all 4 of us and the tree).
I’m not sure if anyone else has this second difficulty when picking a Christmas tree, but it would appear that every year we go, Mrs VFAD gets a little bit emotionally attached and when we have to reject ones that we have pulled out of the line-up, she has a hard time moving on to actually finding the one more suited to our needs. Hence, our journey around the selection of literally hundreds of trees can sometimes take a good hour. While the rest of us move on quite happily, Mrs VFAD can be seen mournfully looking back at the first one we swivelled around to check out its credentials.
Once we had picked ‘the one’ this year from Forestry Commission at Cannock Chase, we hauled it towards the netting area to be packed up ready for its journey to our home. We were met by the friendly team of staff on hand to help. The gentleman who helped us invited the Little Lady to pull the tree through the netting tunnel using all of her muscles and even asked her if she’d like to guess the age of the tree before he sawed the end of the trunk to reveal the tree’s rings and handed over the stump as a memento of our visit. We were a little low in our estimations with tree being 9 years old but as all of the trees sold by the Forestry Commission are grown sustainably we know that for every tree felled for Christmas, more are grown in its place. This year, to celebrate this fact, for every tree sold at Cannock Chase, buyers get Santa’s seal of approval and receive their own tree sapling to plant and grow at home. The Little Lady was very pleased that she got a tree that she could actually carry and has nurtured it since it returned with us.
So, while visiting the Chase to purchase our Christmas tree has become a family tradition, this year was made even more special not only because three is now four but also with the small touches of super customer service that we received, this year’s visit is one that we’ll always remember.
And while it’s up and the fairy is still in place, a three year old and an eight month old fiddling with its branches, there are barely any decorations in the same spot where I originally placed them (grits teeth!) but it’s Christmas so I’m staying strong.
Discover more at www.forestry.gov.uk/birchesvalley