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A 21st Century Hunt for the Perfect Christmas Tree

№224 ~4 minutes

In which I teach my son the important lesson of taking your time to choose the perfect Christmas tree, by taking him out into the woods to chop his very first tree.

No women or children were sexually discriminated against, denigrated, objectified or otherwise harmed in the making of this journal entry. And also, as per the Eriksson family tradition, we always dress the tree together.

Kids these days.

Back in my days kids knew how to chop down a tree. Nowadays, it’s all “Xbox” this and “Daddy, my arms hurt, why do I have to carry the tree?” that.

But really I shouldn’t point my finger at the children. After all, they’re the future and all that other inspirational whatchamacallit.

I blame the parents.

Gone are the days when a father would take his son out back and give him a proper whipping to instil some good ol’ fashion respect and fear.

It’s no wonder that children struggle with depression, impotence and financial difficulties later in life, when they haven’t been given the proper tools to chop down a tree.

And technology!

I also blame technology, with everything being mass produced in today’s society, we no longer put any value in the old adage Make do and mend. Instead, we throw away everything at the slightest sign of wear.

So, with this in mind, I—of course—have to teach my son the dying art of hunting for the perfect Christmas tree. I feel strongly that this is something every real man should know.

Naturally, we got dressed, took the family axe, kissed our wives—well, I kissed mine anyway—goodbye and went out.

Father and son searching for the perfect Christmas tree
Two pair of eyes are better than one.

Patience is key when looking for the perfect tree, like everything else in life, you can’t simply pick the first tree you see. You need to scout the area and find the tree which has grown in the most optimal soil conditions.

The best way to judge this is by grabbing a mouthful of dirt and eating it, letting your sense of taste guide you in your quest for the right soil conditions.

Sometimes, that means walking around for days, surviving only on one’s wits, brawn and whatever the wild can provide.

Child searching for the perfect Christmas tree
The apprentice stands on his own two feet.

After three days I send him out to search by himself. This is the quintessential method in teaching boys to become men, as they need to learn how to fend for themselves, against the elements as well as local wildlife.

Equipping him with our trusted axe, I figured he would be able to handle anything nature might—

Plastic elk photobombs a photo of a pine tree
Holy shit! An Elk!! Run!!!11

After successfully tricking the elk, making it think we were one of the gang—by walking on all fours, pooping in the forest and making loud mating-like calls—we continue our epic quest for the perfect tree.

Having ventured deeper into the woods, we finally find the tree.

That immaculate, virgin Mary-esque Christmas tree.

The tree to make all other trees weep, as they compare their lives to its and kill themselves.

Hold on.

Wait.

After days of wandering aimlessly in the forest—and let’s not forget that awkward elk incident—I understand how you would want to simply run up to the tree and start chopping away.

Don’t.

The ritual by which you chop down the tree, is as important as finding the tree itself. Like making love to a woman, it must be done with great care, subtle flicks of the wrist and a sharp axe.

Child pretending to chop down plastic Christmas tree
It’s all in the wrist.

And once we’ve laid down the tree, it’s time to tie it up and drag it home. Where we’ll leave it for the women-folk to decorate and all that other stuff that real men can’t be bothered with.

The Eriksson family Christmas tree of 2014
'Tis truly the season to be jolly.

Now, you too can go out, and teach your offspring that the true meaning of Christmas has nothing do with presents, family or one of those newfangled nonsense called holiday-spirits—

“Kids these days with their ‘Holiday spirits’”

—No, the true spirit of Christmas is, finding the perfect Christmas tree.

And as we sit down by our roaring fire, putting our feet on the bear skin rug covering the wooden floor, admiring the glorious tree we have hunted down, I give him his first glass of whiskey and tell him, “Merry Christmas son.”

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