Life and the Holidays are all about the Choices We Make | TravelResearchOnline


Life and the Holidays are all about the Choices We Make

First, you must know how much our family loves the holidays. When we were shopping for our home years ago, the first thing my wife looked for is where to put the Christmas tree. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is required viewing for some families. For us, Love Actually is our favorite as we gather in our home for this annual event.

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. This is the story of an experience we had several years ago. Like a great vacation, it made for lasting memories.

Over the years our entourage has grown from the four of us to include boyfriends, a husband, in-laws, nieces, nephews, dogs and grand dogs. It’s quite a show. This year there were just six of us and four dogs.

As you might suspect, my wife takes the tree selection process very seriously – often spending hours searching for the perfect Noble Fir. Believe it or not, it is difficult to find a straight twelve-footer; thus, the stories from this annual event are legendary.

The one we chose that year was not perfect, but it was 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 this year. Three of us hoisted the tree into the industrial size stand. The legs extend five feet in diameter and it was bought after that 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 a few days later from Georgia?

Ultimately, we chose to get a new one; but, unfortunately, by now all the tree farms 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, it was up, decorated (we had a lot of practice this year, so it went fast) and in my opinion, the best looking tree we have ever had.

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 business, don’t be afraid to change course and get a new tree. The old one will make a great fire as we gather around the new tree to open gifts and give thanks for all we have. Like our vacations, once they are over and gone, we will have another experience or another memory to share for years to come.

Merry Christmas to all!


Dan Chappelle is a sought-after sales performance and management expert specializing in the travel and tourism industry. His best-selling book “Get Your S.H.I.P. Together – The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales” is available on Amazon and Audible. To learn how Dan can help you accelerate your sales, visit


© Dan Chappelle / CCI, Inc.

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