Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How to Buy a Christmas Tree: Part Four

The Actual Cutting of the Christmas Tree:

In my limited experience, the Christmas tree farmer was always willing to cut the tree down himself.  Let's be honest, that's the only way he can be sure that it will be done correctly.  However, if you are lucky enough to wield the saw yourself, here's some advice:
  • Ask the farmer or attendant the correct way to cut down the tree and follow HIS advice.
  • Get your husband - son - boyfriend - brother - dad to lay down on cold, wet, frozen, snowy tundra.  Remind him how much stronger he is than you.  It will not help your case if you wrestle him to the ground.
  • As you gently lift the lowest branches up so said male can scoot underneath, refrain from telling him exactly how to do it until he actually starts doing the cutting, or you might just end up doing it yourself.  Your job is to keep the branches up until you get bored with it or itchy from the needles.  Your other job is to carefully tug the tree in the opposite direction of the saw cut in order to keep the cut open just a smidgen so the saw blade can continue to glide through the Christmas tree trunk like butter.  Keep out of the way of kicking legs or any other form of "accidental" contact made by the cutter.  Avoid shaking dead needles and other debris down into the cutters eyes even if that cutter deserves.  It is acceptable to keep up a running monologue that can segue into implicit instructions on how to finish the tree cutting.
All Christmas trees lose needles.  Some Christmas tree farms have "shakers" and "balers."  The deed needles and debris that you didn't "accidentally" shake down on the cutter will be shaken out of the tree at the baling station.  You can also grab on to the trunk midway down its length, lift it a few inches and drop the cut end of the trunk on the ground.  A baler will wrap the tree in protective netting, pulling all the branches snugly in and up from the trunk.  This makes transportation and the initial handling of the tree so much easier.

If the farm you plan to buy a Christmas tree from is old school, you can bring your own rope and tie it yourself.  Starting at the bottom and attaching the rope to the base of the trunk, one person lifts the branches towards the top spire, and the other walks behind spiraling up with the rope.  If you were the one lifting the branches during the cutting, you will now be named as "The Expert" and you'll have to do the scratchy, itchy work will the cutter just wrangles the rope.  Speaking of rope, stay alert and keep your eye on it.  You wouldn't want to end up accidentally tied to the roof of your car.

I watched a lot of videos at Christmas tree farm websites and on Youtube just to see if there were any other ways to cut Christmas trees, but the only thing that is really different is the size of the operations and the quality of their promotional videos.  I thought I'd include this one, hoping that it might whet your appetite to plan your own tree cutting experience. 

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