HUNTING & Gathering
When I was a little girl growing up in Toronto, I had no idea where Christmas trees came from. As far as I was concerned, it was part of the magic of the holiday. Every year at the beginning of November, a “forest” would suddenly materialize in the parking lot of the church at the end of our street. Trying to imagine that those trees originated in a field or farm in the country was beyond city-tyke me. On the weekend before Christmas, my father would take my older sister and me to the lot to pick out the perfect specimen for us to decorate. We were a balsam fir kind of family, and I remember being among those tall evergreens – standing straight like sentries – and feeling each magnificent one looming over me.
There was a kind of hush when I was surrounded by the evergreens, like I was in my own private hideaway with my dad and sister on the other side of the branches, and I loved it. But the choice of which one was right for our living room wasn’t easy for two young ladies who had definite ideas in mind, and inevitably the trip dissolved into fights and tears – and my poor father ended up also being responsible for mediating between my sister and me about which one to pick.
It’s been at least 40 years since the days when the origin of Christmas trees was as much of a mystery to me as how Santa Claus could leave presents for kids who lived in homes without fireplaces. And each year I still experience a lovely sense of nostalgia when the Christmas tree lots spring up across the city at the first sign of snow. Although many of us now go and cut our own verdant conifer, this city slicker still loves buying her Christmas trees from a local parking lot.