A Very Merry Christmas Tree Story

Hey you guys, here's a great story about how we got our Christmas tree(s) this year. Also a story of something that has been happening for years and it is such a cool thing I just have to tell you about it.

A few weeks ago I started looking for a live tree in a pot that we could replant after the holidays. We bought two properties this year, Roscoe and The Mullet. Wakitu really, REALLY wanted to plant our first year's Christmas tree like we did at the last house. It was 18 feet tall when we left there. Sadly, the new owners cut it down along with the five huge 80-year-old cottonwoods. Trees we've loved for 30 years. Over the years I climbed them all, each of them 75 feet tall or better. Sad face... 

Anyway, I searched and searched all the likely places with no luck. I called nurseries and home stores in three counties. I could not for the life of me find a reasonably priced Christmas tree looking thing in Riverside, Los Angeles or Kern County. I tried facebook groups and ebay and craigslist and I had all but given up when I tried CL one more time.

At one o'clock in the morning this, with a couple of pics, shows up:
"Every year, we give away dozens of pine trees for homeowners looking to reforest parts of their land. These trees have all been part of a Christmas celebration, but are now looking for a forever home. Priority given to properties affected by the recent fires. MINIMUM 10 trees/ per person."

Low and behold, a star appeared in the sky over Paramount, California the heavens parted and a hot blonde in a onesie and a pink Santa hat (how California is that?) landed in a lot behind an apartment building in a huge sleigh full of Christmas trees. In pots.

The caveat being you have to take 10 trees minimum. I could, however, take as many as I could fit on my trailer. The best part? They were free. Merry Christmas. How figgie cool is that?!

So we load up the trailer and off we go this early morning. An hour south and a few wrong turns and we find the place. It is a nursery between the train tracks and a big apartment complex in Orange County. We roll in dragging our big 16' trailer behind us and turn around by the tracks. We park in the middle of a literal forest of potted Christmas trees. Dozens of them and the inimitable "Spruce Springstree" the best decorated tree on the lot. 

For the next hours, two delightful and very festive ladies and I laughed and loaded tree after tree while Wakitu giggled and welcomed our new kids to the family from the relative safety of the truck. Even with our masks on you could see the smiles (though I asked for Wakitu's actual smile in the final pic). Once they knew where they were going and who was taking them they started picking out the good ones and the ones that might need a little extra love. This is easily a $2,500 variety pack of six- to eight-foot blue spruce, monterey and western pine trees.

It turns out they sell the trees for the holidays then buy them back. During the off season they keep them maintained and healthy. Then they prune them up purty and sell them again and again. You can even get the same tree you had last year.


After a year or two they give them away with special access to those in high fire or burn zones. So some will need haircuts and a year of love or so and some may not make it. However, we're pretty confident we can find a home for every single one that we hand-picked. I swear you could hear them: "Take me! Take me!" One spontaneously fell over on me as I walked by. It had to go!

Though root bound in their pots they have Christmas memories bound to them as well. Some of them waking up to happy kids several years in a row. We adopted sixteen trees. Imagine the families, Christmas music playing, tinsel flying, kids laughing, year after year. Can you see it? You could FEEL it there, standing in the lot by the trains behind the apartments in Orange County.



So I got to be a hero, making Wakitu's tree dream happen, we get to help reforest our fire-ravaged state and both of our new properties will benefit from the greenery and, hopefully, future generations will enjoy the shade of our little Christmas trees from the year we moved in.


The best part is we get to plant THREE TIMES as many trees as the cottonwoods they cut down at the Magic House. Many that could easily last eighty years or more.

Rest in peace, old friends.


We could not be more pleased with the whole affair. It was so difficult not to hug those people! So odd not to shake hands. With a few pics, air hugs and finally butt bumps we bid goodbye and happy holidays to the elves who make Christmas special for so many then, without fanfare, bless us and the earth with their kindness.

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