We’re still learning to navigate the holiday season in this part of the world; somewhere between St. Martin’s and Christmas Day, Christmas trees become available to purchase. These Weihnachtsbaumen, or Kerstbomen to the Dutch, are sold outside some stores, alongside the road in temporary stands, or available directly from the tree farms. IKEA sells them for 1 Euro if you buy something else from them, an idea that appealed very much to the Mrs, but I would rather support a local tree farm. Also, I can’t stand IKEA.
The tricky part is finding out when each tree farm is open for business, because they don’t stay open all season, and some are a one-day-only affair. Last year it was just a matter of going to the guy’s house down the road who grew them in his back yard and asking for a tree. But since trees take seven or eight years to grow, the small farms selling them change each year. Luckily, the giant sign on the side of the road advertised trees for sale on Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
Having brought the tree home in my makeshift bike trailer last year, I wanted to do the same again this year. I was thinking of hooking the trailer back up, when I remembered I happened to have a bakfiets that would be perfect for transporting a tree. I’m not sure why I didn’t immediately think to use it.
The tree farm is in the Netherlands, just over the border. My friend met me there to pick a tree for himself, too. We spent close to an hour walking up and down the rows, judging the offerings and unfairly criticizing the trees for their bald spots, lack of “Christmassy shape”, and whether or not they had pine cones attached, a feature that would become a must-have for his tree. We could just pick these ones off the ground and glue them on, I proposed. That’s not the same thing, he said.
We finally had two trees picked out, had them cut, and paid a whopping 10 Euro apiece. I dragged mine over to the bakfiets, set it in, and that was it. No hassle at all. Then I helped my friend wrangle his into his car, thankful that I wouldn’t be there to help him get it back out (sorry).
I posted a photo on Twitter and was met with a response of dozens of other people around the world who had done the same, using their bikes to bring a tree home for the holidays. I suppose that it will now be a tradition to uphold, and as the tree stands next to me, lit-up and looking the part, I’d say it was worth it.
So once again, happy holidays to you and yours.
- Bicyclist Abroad