My Frugal LifeFrugal Living

The Christmas Tree Grinch

My father bought our Christmas tree every year on Christmas Eve. He used to take my Mom go with him when I was little but, after a few years, she quit going. My Dad and I usually went together. One would think, "How sweet, father and daughter going to pick out the tree every year." That was not the reason I went. It was because mom refused to go with him anymore. My father, well, he was a bit of a Grinch when it came to purchasing a tree. He didn't want to spend money for a tree that was only going to be up for one week. It was his money; after all, we were spending.

We didn't go Christmas Eve during the day, when there were still some nice trees to choose from. No, we went in the late evening when the pickings were slim. The trees were marked down to a bargain price. The ones that were left, if no one bought them, were thrown in the trash. We would walk around and he would pull out a tree here and there and ask me what do you think. I was a child; they all looked good to me. He would choose one and we would go to pay and he would always try to barter the tree down even more. Sometimes that would work and some years it didn't.

He was always proud bringing the bargain tree home to my mother. She would always wonder how was she going to decorate that thing to make it look good. Our trees were not pretty, some were downright ugly. They were skimpy, scraggly or one sided, crooked trunk dried up on one side or missing the top. One year, he dragged one home that had brown dried up bottom branches. He had to cut a lot off the bottom. That year, we had a very short tree.

We would decorate it that evening. The trees always looked beautiful to me after we decorated them. Dad always put lots and lots of lights on and mom and I did the rest. The more that was put on the trees the better they looked. Back then we used a lot of tinsel. We had to hide a lot of flaws.

The reason mom stopped going with dad to buy the tree was because they would always bicker about which tree to buy. She wanted a nice tree and he wanted a bargain. She decided it wasn't worth all the bickering over a tree. She knew he was never going to buy the tree she wanted.

Things changed when the artificial trees came out. One year after Christmas, mother bought a fake tree at 50% off. She picked it out without him and a tree she liked. He still moaned about the price but she was adamant that they would have that tree for years and he would save a lot of money. Well, with that logic, mother finally got the perfect tall full tree she had wanted for years. They kept that tree for many years and even the grandchildren enjoyed it.


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December 10, 20171 found this helpful

What a beautiful story and memory.

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December 10, 20170 found this helpful

My dad was kind of like this. When my mom started working nights as a phone operator for bell, he would have to be bullied to go buy a tree. One year he came home with a painted tree. I thought my mom was going cry. They got an artificial tree eventually and that solved the problem.

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December 10, 20170 found this helpful

I sympathize. I didn't want to get into a deeper story about the trees. My mom, also, was on the verge of tears some years with those horrible trees.We made the best of what we had She was the one that always made Christmas happy.


Artificial trees aren't for everyone but they do solve the tree Grinch problem.

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December 10, 20170 found this helpful

Ill bet your dad was poor growing up. Thats why he acted as he did.

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December 10, 20170 found this helpful

My mother would go out in the country and find an old ugly cedar tree every year. Sometimes it would even have bagworms! Yuck! I hated those trees.

When I had my first apartment at 18, I took a temp job on a Saturday and made something like $15 (It was 1969.) I spent that money on a small artificial tree and decorations, and to me, that was the prettiest tree I'd ever had. Also probably my first happy Christmas.


When I married my husband, I had a larger artificial tree, but he insisted on having real ones, which we'd buy from a lot. When our son was little, we'd make a day out of going to a tree farm and cutting our own (not cedar!), but we had our last real one over 20 years ago. That year, the tree, which was supposed to be fresh cut, started dropping needles in just a few days. I told my husband that was it--no more real trees. We bought a big artificial one in the after-Christmas sales, and I replaced that one with a taller, pre-lit.

Now, I have one in my kitchen, living room, and library, and I leave them up until 12th Night. My mother wonders why I don't particularly like to spend Christmas with her, but I really don't have any happy memories because they were always so Scroogy about everything.

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December 12, 20170 found this helpful

We always had real trees growing up even though we weren't rich or anything. Christmas was a big deal at our house.My Mom decorated to the hilt and baked cookies and made candy.We always had presents under the tree.


I have such wonderful memories of those times..

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December 13, 20170 found this helpful

We always had real trees but they were never very expensive, living in the Pacific NW. It is a good thing because we never had very much else. Mom did a good job of always making Christmas special.

Thanks for sharing your story. Merry Christmas!

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