They walk by, but don’t see me. A man, woman, and two children.
The girl, three-years-old, says “This one, Daddy! Oh! Oh! How about this one?!” I try to stand up straight, but I’m leaning too far over, and am partially tangled with my neighbors. It’s a cold day, my favorite kind, but the cold is distracting the woman, and I can tell they won’t take more than a few minutes making their selection.
The man selects a tree, holding it at arm’s length. He spins it, and sets it back in place.
“What about that one?” the woman asks. He stands up the one she’s looking at, and they both quickly shake their heads. No. I feel bad for that one. He’s been looked at so many times and is rejected every time. The couple looks at several more, dismissing all of them for one reason or another.
“Look at me, look at me,” I plead, but I know they can’t hear me.
Or can they? The boy, five, looks at me. He walks closer, and stares, intently.
“Mom, look at this one,” he calls. She does.
“I like the top,” she says. The man stands me up, and gives me a spin. Then the woman gives me a turn so the man can look me over.
“Looks pretty good,” the man begins, running his hand over his chin.
“Good enough,” the woman agrees, tucking her face into her scarf. Not a ringing endorsement, but I shake it off. They picked me!
They pay the lady that’s been watching over me, and the man takes me to the car. I’m tightly strapped to the top of the car, but I barely notice the uncomfortable twine digging into my trunk. I’m too excited for my next adventure. The wind feels good in my branches, and I can see people looking at me. We pass another car with a tree on the top. My brother and I exchange silent hellos.
I’m happy the family has children. No one loves a Christmas tree like a child. I’m also happy the children are older; very small children sometimes love Christmas trees too hard.
The trip is short, much shorter than my previous trip in the big truck full of trees. The man carries me across the threshold, and I see a green tree stand in the corner. It looks like it will hold me tall and true. The woman and children have prepared a special spot for me right in the living room, where everyone can see me. I am also right next to two windows so I can see out, and so others can see me when I’m lit up.
I’m pretty thirsty. The man must sense this, because after I’m placed snugly in my stand, he gets me a large drink of water. I see the woman looking at me. Her smiling eyes tell me that she’s changed her mind. She no longer thinks I’m “good enough.” She knows I’m just right.
The next two days are wonderful. The children touch me lovingly, the man and woman cover me in lights, and the entire family places ornaments on my branches. There is music, laughter, and excitement over rediscovering favorite decorations. Memories are shared. I see the man and woman sharing looks. They are happy.
As long as that dog of theirs leaves me be, I think I’ll like my new home. I know I won’t be here long, but that’s okay. There will always be pictures of me with my new family, and I get to spend the most magical time of year with them. Next year, when the family is celebrating the blessing of the Christmas season, they’ll think of me and smile.