The quest for ‘The Perfect Tree’ is real

By Melanie Yingst

With Christmas less than a week away, the spirit of the holidays finally feels some what real.

My son has caught the Christmas spirit singing “Feliz Navidad” over, and over, and over. He doesn’t even really know the worlds so his made up Spanish is pretty amusing.

My favorite part of Christmas is decorating the Christmas tree. Our household is “Pro-Real Tree” despite the needles. I’ve found if you use one of those cheap hand held brush brooms, the needles aren’t so bad.

You just can’t replicate the smell of a fresh-cut pine tree. And to me, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without the hassle and the story behind the annual adventure.

Every year, my sister and I would tromp off to the Wat-A-Dog in New Carlisle to help my dad pick out “The Perfect Tree.” We’d also witness some good ol’fashioned tree bargaining at the lot as well.

The annual tree selection tradition is now in the hands of my dad and Evan. It’s a hefty responsibility to please the head of the homesteads in terms of Christmas tree quality.

Call it a Christmas miracle, but I believe we finally found “The Perfect Tree” this year. And I say we, I mean my dad and Evan. At only 11 years-old, my son has quite the Christmas Tree eye. It must be genetic.

The hunt for the perfect Yingst Christmas tree goes back long before I was even born. It’s just something that’s in our DNA. My dad shared the story from his childhood of the time that my late grandfather brought home a less than spectacular spruce.

The tree was so bad, Norma Jean made my grandfather. And, in true Christmas fashion, he loaded it back up and took it back to the tree dealer and swapped it out for another.

See. I told you we take this Christmas Tree business pretty seriously!

Some people take their Christmas lights seriously, their Christmas dinner seriously … we take our Christmas Trees very seriously around here.

The Wat-a-Dog no longer sells Christmas Trees, so Dad and Evan have found they’ve had great luck at the local farm supply store across town. Only my dad would buy tractor oil and two Christmas trees in the same transaction. Trees and tractor oil is actually a part of another Christmas Tree legend years ago. …

One year when we were little, we thought we had found the most perfect tree. It was bitterly cold that year, so Dad brought “The Perfect Tree” into his shop to trim it up and place it on the stand. He leaned the tree against the shop wall as he prepared the chainsaw and tree stand. As we stood there and waited, we watched the tree slowly slide off the wall….falling directly into a full bucket of used tractor oil.

It’s still one of our favorite stories to tell. The tree was power washed with pink industrial soap before it finally made its way into the house. Looking back, it might have made more sense to just go and buy another tree, but Christmas makes us do crazy things. The fresh scent of pine was masked by faint tractor oil and soap that year, but the story will be treasured forever.

While my dad and son are picky about the size, shape and fullness of trees, I’m sorta particular about my Christmas lights. I like a lot of lights but I don’t like seeing the green wires. I’m not this particular about anything else around the holidays except for how the lights look on the Christmas tree. I’m so weird, I know.

And, in true holiday fashion, one huge section of lights went out just as I was beginning to string them up. So, I improvised but camouflaging them in the back and kept on working past the defects.

Evan was put to work to decorate our tree, which has a lot of Star Wars ornaments out front this year. I dug out the ornaments and handed them one by one for him to place where ever he wanted.

I know I say this every year, but I just can’t help it. Teachers, thank you for taking the time to make ornaments. They are my favorite possessions on earth. I love seeing all the pictures and the handwriting evolve through the years.

They are like little pieces of time on display and they are so enjoyable to see every year. And this year I got a little teary knowing those little crafts are slowly drifting to the back of the tree as Evan places Yoda, Darth Vader and R2-D2 out front for his amusement.

May the Spirit of the Season be with you!

By Melanie Yingst

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. I want to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart……Feliz Navidad!

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. I want to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart……Feliz Navidad!

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