Saturday, November 14, 2009

In lieu of shopping, go chopping!

Thrift store regulars are a fortunate lot during the holidays. Since they’ve been planning and shopping all year, they can take a reprieve during the national retail nightmare.

Reported as news, the final two months of the year play an abnormally large role in the American economy. Is it profit procrastination to hope all falls in line in the last two months of the last fiscal quarter? Does this create an economic bubble that is bound to pop?

Should shoppers dare to follow our January 1st post of 2009, Thrift Shopping a New Year's Resolution Revolution, retailers will have to change if we remain steadfast and Shop Like Pioneers and seek out the holiday gifts, which we know we're going to give, year round. When we have more time to shop, we just might actually find something worth giving and redefine the Art of Giving on terms with what the recipient needs or likes.

Must we really all race like lemmings to the stores at 5AM the day after Thanksgiving and trample to death the store guard? I’ve never been able to figure how shoppers can do that after feasting on L-Tryptophan-laced turkey not even 12 hours prior.

"This looming Black Friday, I urge people to
replace shopping with chopping!"

For over decade my family scores a $10 permit from the National Forest Service to wander a designated area near the quaint town of Buffalo Creek and hunt for our holiday tree. This particular program helps remove forest fire fuel and helps set the terrain straight, as Mother Nature would have it be. Smokey the Bear makes an annual appearance at this event.

We bring our sleds and Thanksgiving leftovers to the hunt. Sometimes it snows, making it idyllic. We drive home with a tree on the roof of the car, hot cocoa, and holiday tunes on the stereo.

Our trees are fresh, just a few hours from the forest so they go up early. Who knows how long it’s been since the trees in the parking lot bid farewell to their roots? Harvested in Oregon or North Carolina, they can cost over $100.

I suggest people to take Thanksgiving leftovers to the forest as a picnic for a holiday tree hunt. Permits are up for grabs now, often in limited numbers and sell fast. Any Internet search engine will list local options. Typical time frames for chopping are in late November to mid December. If you are along along the Front Range in Colorado, you can contact The South Platte Ranger Station for information regarding this program. Perhaps living in Colorado makes me a bit spoiled because National Forests spread far and wide. So, I apologize the options are few to none. (I guess there wouldn’t be that many options in El Paso or Palm Springs unless cacti are available.) A quick Internet search will reveal what programs are available in your area.

One bit of tree hunting advice; the forest provides a different perspective. A big tree can look really, really small, when dwarfed by giant trees and set against a panorama of mountain ridge lines. Our first experience resulted in 15-foot tree we thought was only a baby, so we had a bit more sawing to do one we arrived home. But, we did make good use of the extra greenery.

Now, I must get back to wrapping gifts to mail. Doing this now saves me from the killer lines at the US Post Office and saves money. I ship ground, not Priority or worse, Next Day Air. Some people think I’m nuts, but come mid December they’re nuts and I’m playing dominoes while sipping cocoa and mackin’ on cupcakes

We've come to find that the best trees come with their own decorations of Douglas Fir pine cones and a wee bird's nest from time to time.

Happy chopping!


Alan said...

Love the title! LeDandy is 100% w/ you on your approach. Who the hell wants to fight crowds? Every year people get seriously hurt or even killed in the mayhem. And for what? To save a few bucks on still over-priced drek?

Tree chopping sounds great. Fresh air, exercise and all that.

Anonymous said...

Hahah I love it

I am staying in and loving it too. Going out is not on the agenda with this nasty weather and crazy crowds

Even Cyber Monday will be futile for me

Style on a String

Summer said...

Lovely idea, but... (lol)... I thrifted my fake tree! It's not quite as lovely as the real thing, but hey, I saved some PVC from the landfill.

Summer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darth Mama said...

What a lovely tradition! Our Black Friday plans may include going to an art exhibit (if my 5 year old son cooperates) or to the park (if he doesn't), or both. The mall will be in the opposite direction, whichever way we go on the day after Thanksgiving.

La Historiadora de Moda said...

I'm going to stay in, too! My mom and in-laws will be visiting for Thanksgiving, and I'd rather spend the time drinking coffee and chatting with them.

I think even marking papers sounds more appealing than going out in those crowds.

The Prudent Homemaker said...

It sounds wonderful.

There aren't any trees, or even cactus, here in our desert in Las Vegas. (some places have sagebrush, but it's not really very picturesque!)

As it is, I'm allergic to fir and pine trees. Having a fake tree is a great blessing to us, as well as our pocketbook (since trees come so far to get here, they're around $120 each). I have a wreath that I hang each year on my door (though I could handle fresh greenery outside if it wasn't so pricy and came locally) that I made years ago.

I'm not quite as relaxed, yet, because I'm behind on my Christmas sewing. So, I'll probably spend my day after Thanksgiving doing lot of sewing. (I have a child's birthday before that as well, so it makes for extra sewing).