It’s a Christmas Tree!

The headline says it all: the photos you see here are a real, live Christmas tree. My very first tree, ever! (We’ve named her Athena.)

When Erin and I decided to buy an actual tree this year, she told me I needed to experience the whole thing and we just had to buy a real one from off the street. Right after Thanksgiving, little streetside vendors pop up all over the place across the city — there are actually two diagonally across the street from each other at the end of my block! This was my first time actually visiting one, yay!

The first step was figuring out what size tree we wanted (small, but not tiny enough to fit on a table). Then we approached the first area and started browsing the selection. Immediately, out of nowhere (usually the staff are waiting in little indoor huts to try to stay warm since they basically are always there around the clock, I guess to meet the 3am drunken Christmas tree needs of NYers), a guy approached us. We weren’t sure whether to haggle, but of course I did. His price was ridiculous (I thought), and we turned around to genuinely leave, and he kept lowering the price as we walked away. Tsk, tsk. We wanted to check out the other place, anyway…

The other stand was being supervised by a super friendly girl with a strong accent who seemed like she’s grown up breeding Christmas trees. It was bizarre. (Side note about the trees, it’s a legit thing.) Both of our eyes were immediately drawn to one small, sort of scraggly tree leaning against scaffolding, and though we paced up and down the block looking at the other trees, we ended up coming back to her 🙂

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This whole time, our tree-tour-guide was trying to explain the two kinds of trees she had and the difference between them (one smells a little more intense and the other has stronger limbs and is more traditionally tree-shaped). Naturally, being surrounded by all these trees and trying to figure out which one was the best, I retained nothing of the education she imparted.

In the end, we chose Athena.

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We chose Athena! Behind me is the little hut!

After we decided on Athena, they cut off the end of her stump — apparently once you get home, you put the tree in what looks like a dog’s dish and fill it with water, and the fresh cut keeps the tree alive. Then they wrapped her up in some very confusing string, and off we were! Erin and I carried her together (though it was only half a block, and she wasn’t really heavy at all). #tradition

When we got back to the apartment, we had to set her up in her little home (the water bowl). So I had to stand the tree up straight and super-still while Erin screwed the trunk in. It wasn’t as tedious as it sounds, but I can imagine this being a huge pain in the butt for larger, heavier trees! Then, we decorated! Erin had already bought a bunch of stuff and I got to work stringing lights.

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This was riiiight before I suggested we shift the placement to AWAY from the heater…

Then we turned on some Christmas tunes (the classics, of course) and put up ornaments (plus, we laid down something beneath the tree to catch all the needles that fall).

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Yes, I’m draped in Hanukkah tinsel, which was too EXTRA for the tree but is draped around our window!

It’s so sweet now to keep the room dark except for the tree — it really does make everything feel more festive! (and yes, there are a few blue ornaments! and no, they’re not Hanukkah themed, LOL)

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