Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Tree Shopping: Then and Now

What's it like to go Christmas tree shopping in 2011? For us, it started by piling the family into the car and then realizing we didn't know where the nearest tree lot was. So Kelly summoned Siri on her new iPhone to find out.

Unfortunately, Siri didn't understand the question — even after Kelly repeated it several times.

After we sat in the car for several minutes, one of our neighbors came over to help. She's lived in Berkeley longer than us and recommended several Christmas tree lots. Then she said, "Look at you, getting Christmas tree advice from a Jew." This made me wonder what religion Siri is.

We ended up at a tree lot in Emeryville that had a bouncy slide...

...a petting zoo...

...and, yes, a few Christmas trees (though not so many to warrant the excessive sideshow, I'd say).

When I was young child, we lived in rural New England. My family and I would trudge out into the snow with a saw and cut down the tree ourselves. As our mittens thawed by a wood-burning stove, we celebrated with a cup of hot chocolate.

I'm not sure anyone took photographs, so this lithograph will have to do.

My children will not experience that. But they did get to zoom down an inflatable slide beneath palm trees while enjoying the California sunshine. This has to be some form of progress.

We debated what tree to get for a while, but at least no one was carrying a saw (that would usually escalate the arguments during my youth).

After sealing the deal, we took the tree home and decorated it.

I'd say it looks just as good as the ones from the old days.

And on the plus side: No one threatened to hack up another family member.