Parking lot Christmas trees make me sad. I suppose my viewpoint is a bit skewed, living in the Christmas tree capital of the world, but buying one of those twine-wrapped tree-lot deals is just a sad excuse for a holiday tradition. For $5 at most rural quickie-marts or your friendly local Ranger Station, you can buy a Christmas Tree Harvest Permit that comes with a free excuse to spend some time away from noisy urban big box stores and creepy tree-salesmen.
Beyond the cost savings, harvesting a tree in the mountains is one more reason to get off your butt, explore your surroundings, and spend a little quality time with loved ones in the great outdoors.
Nowadays we rely on other people to do so much for us. Processed food, personal trainers, valet parking... it's hard to fight feeling like we've become a nation of savants; expert selfie-takers unable to navigate a new route home without an iPhone. It's little wonder that we're becoming more and more disconnected from nature, when everything we used to take from our surroundings can now be purchased at the local Albertson's.
This was our first year for a public land Christmas tree and it's a tradition I'm proud to establish. Mostly because I'm cheap, but also because I value spending time with loved ones and taking the time to appreciate how things used to be done before selfie sticks and Google Maps changed our collective skill sets.