people Americans, there is a a firm dividing line between the Thanksgiving and holiday period following it, where you must give Thanksgiving its due before moving on to Christmas, Hanukah, Festivus, etc. You put lights on your house before the 28th of November, and your name gets removed from your neighbor’s Christmas card list. You listen to Christmas music at the office and your co-workers groan, visibly discomforted by your eagerness for Santatime to arrive. Getting an early jump on the December holidays is seen as bad form.
Here in Europe, that problem of course does not exist, because they had the sense to clear the calendar of all conflicting holidays leading up to the start of the new year. So from All Souls Day to the 31st of December, it’s pretty much Christmas around these parts. Sure there are special days interspersed throughout, but they all have something or another to do with that big day on December 25th.
The Mrs. and I however, forever faithful to the American way, waited until after November 27th to crack open the bin of holiday décor. And this year, we decided to get a real Christmas tree.
As explained to me by our neighbor, we are fortunate to have a Christmas tree farm right in the village where we live. The other trees you buy are imported from Norway or Scandinavia and will invariably drop their needles all over your house. So we decided to shop locally and pick out a proper German tree (which come to find out, was actually Canadian, in species anyway). They were all rather short compared to giant, SUV-sized, American trees I’m accustomed to, but that just means your lights cover that much more of the tree’s surface area.
Oh, and I really wanted to use the dog-kennel trailer to bring it home.
So we got on our bikes and rode to the man’s house who owns the little tree farm. It’s literally less than two blocks away, but I feel like my plan would have worked regardless of distance. The man asked which variety of tree we would like, and I told him whichever one is best. So he pointed us in that direction, we picked out our tree, and he kindly cut it for us.
20 Euro later, it was ours and we bungeed it securely into the trailer.
[You can see on the bottom of the bike I installed a double-legged kick stand which makes a world of difference in loading/unloading from the trailer. I was worried it would affect my clearance off-road, but soon realized my style of riding is far too mild for it to cause me any problems. Also, it’s easily removed.]
I almost wish the tree farm was farther away, because I did not have much time to savor the self-reliance of transporting a tree on a bicycle. Alas, the short trip gave us more time to spend decorating the tree and merging two cultures into new traditions of drinking Glühwein while listening to Bing Crosby on the stereo.
Happy holidays from Bicyclist Abroad!