Unfortunately, real Christmas trees cost $300 here and likely last about 3 days. And it turns out that little palm trees don't really have anyplace good to hang ornaments. So.
We set out to find the family's 2013 Christmas tree, not by tromping out into the woods or bundling up for the crisp air of the tree lot but by piling into a pink taxi. Lucy and Theo sang carols all the way to the mall. When we got there we could see the display of trees in the back corner, so we wound our way through the aisles until we were gazing up at the soft glow of electric Thai Christmas. There were three models.
"How about this one?" Chris suggested hopefully.
I hesitated. "Wait, I want to look at the others. What if the next one is perfect?" I walked around to the back of the display- best to check them out from all sides. It was hard to connect the trees on display to the jumble of boxes underneath, so I started calling out the serial numbers from the tags. "2810...317..." Theo's ears perked up. "317? I LOVE the 317! Please can we get the 317?" (He started to cry, and wrapped himself around one of the boxes that he thought was a 317.)
"I don't know- Chris is our ceiling tall enough? Maybe we could cut it off at the bottom? Theo, what about the 2810, have you looked at the 2810?
In the end, we got the 317, climbed into another taxi and Chris slid the long box through the window and onto our laps. At home the tree is perfect. Too perfect, and I both love it and hate it. But topping it with a nebula that Lucy made at school made me happy, so I am content.