Costco, Christmas, and Charlie Brown

It’s the dawn of a new era: Costco sells Christmas trees. “Field grown in North Carolina,” the sign says. As if that is supposed to make you feel like you are not buying a tree from the same place where you stock up on toilet paper and diapers. No, it’s a “field grown” tree. I mean, it’s basically from your back yard neighbor’s best friend’s tree farm. Phew, that makes me feel better.

Funny thing is I saw that same sign at a Costco in Pittsburgh. Must be one ENORMOUS field to grow trees for Virginia, the city of Pittsburgh, and probably the rest of the continental U.S. But if I know anything about Costco, I know enormous is how they do things. What isn’t gigantic at Costco? Pointsettias, pumpkin pies, even the shopping carts are double wide and the parking spaces extra large.

But I digress. The point is, we got sucked in. We went to Costco for milk and dog food (we were okay on toilet paper and diapers at the moment) and yes, a Christmas tree. The really sad part of the story is we already had a Christmas tree in our living room. A tree that my parents had chopped down and dragged from their property up on the mountains of Virginia. A good old fashion family Christmas tree. It was cute, wild… albeit a little spindly. Okay, it looked like a tree branch. I’m pretty sure it could have secured a part in A Charlie Brown Christmas.

At first we thought we would keep it. Cute, right? Good story too, right? Except that I would feel the overwhelming need to explain the story to every single person who walked through our door, because, let’s face it, our tree was going to receive some second glances. Mostly because it may have not been noticed on the first one. That seemed like rather exhausting work. And then there was the fact that we were 80 percent sure there was no good way to put lights on it.

So we ended up in Costco, the pinnacle of commercialism and all that Charlie Brown is against, standing in a check out line buying milk, cereal, dog food and a Christmas tree. Trading in our organic mountain top tree for one from a whole sale warehouse that sells pizza and hot dogs. Sorry Charlie. I’m against commercialism too. Really–I am!

I hope this doesn’t make us sellouts, but it probably does. Ah well, they were “field grown.”

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