As is tradition, the day after Thanksgiving, we all pile into the truck and head out to a local tree farm nestled in hills of the lower Cascades not far from our home. Over the years, our entourage has grown from just the four of us to include boyfriends, husbands, in-laws, nieces, nephews, dogs and grand dogs. It’s quite a show.
As you might suspect, my wife takes the selection process very seriously—often spending hours searching for the perfect Noble Fir. Believe it or not, it is hard to find a straight twelve-footer thus, the stories from this annual event are legendary. A few years ago, we had one for the ages…
The tree we chose that year was not perfect, but it was a pre-cut and the best of the bunch – besides, we were in a rush because the Apple Cup game (University of Washington vs. Washington State) was on early. Three of us hoisted the tree into the industrial size stand we bought a few years ago, after a previous tree fell over on my wife as she decorated (a story for another time). Next, we proceeded to put on the lights—a three-hour process. Exhausted, we went to bed early, planning to finish in the next day. I got up to put water in the bucket, but only an inch or so was gone. From experience, I know the tree stand becomes a secondary water source for our two cats (Just in case you are counting 4 dogs + 2 cats + 2 grand dogs). So, off came the lights, tree out and I recut the trunk. After couple more days of this I called the owner of the tree farm. Nice guy – told me since we had the wettest October on record it was probably still full of water. Plausible story, so I went with it.
Fast forward three weeks. The tree was so wilted and dry, the static electricity in the air could have easily ignited an inferno. I sent him a video of the branches crumbling in my hand. We had a decision to make, do we limp by or bite the bullet and get a new one a week before Christmas? Did I mention, we had family arriving in a few days from Georgia?
Ultimately, we chose to get a new one, but unfortunately all the tree farms (including his) in our area were closed for the season and the lots that did have trees wanted $250+. I went online and found an open farm about 30 miles from our home. It has been family owned and operated for over 50 years and had some of the most beautiful trees we had ever seen. They charge per tree, not per foot and we found the perfect one for less than $70.
After a full day of activity, we got it up and decorated (we had a lot of practice that year, so it went fast). In my opinion, it was the best-looking tree we have ever had up to that point.
We couldn’t change the fact that our first tree was dying a quick and unsightly death, we only knew the actions we took would affect the quality of our holiday. Life is all about the choices we make. When something isn’t working in your life or business, don’t be afraid to change course and get a new tree. The old one made great fire wood and we gathered around the new tree to open gifts and give thanks for all we have. Like travel, once they are both gone – we have another experience, another memory, to share for years to come.
Merry Christmas to all!
Dan Chappelle is a professional business advisor and best-selling author. His training and consulting firm helps develop sales focused business leaders and entrepreneurs in the travel and tourism industry.
His book, Get Your S.H.I.P. Together: The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales, is available on Amazon.com. For information on the Wealthy Travel Agent Academy’s business transformation programs, visit: www.DanChappelle.com