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Dr. Boogie's Xmas Tree Buying Guide!
by: Dr. Boogie

By now, all of my timely readers will already have purchased their Christmas trees. For those of you who have been biding your time, waiting for that big Christmas tree sale that you know is just right around the corner, I've got the hot scoop on how to get, hands down, the best Christmas tree that money can buy. If you operate on the barter system, I'm sorry; I'll get to you next year. In the meantime, practice your hagglin'.

The first thing you need to know is that all Christmas tree salesmen are thieving, lying crooks. There's not a decent man among ‘em. They'll try to fool you into thinking that they are but the humble servants of the Christmas spirit and are not at all looking to capitalize on the most popular time of the year for buying pine trees. Sure, maybe they're not lying. Maybe they just keep a whole bunch of pine trees lined up in back all year round just in case they want to chop one down, grind it up, and turn it into a smaller, two-dimensional pine tree that you hang on your rearview mirror to mask the smell of the crumpled up McDonald's wrappers in the back seat. By the way, putting a pine-scented air freshener in your mouth will not help you avoid a DUI.

Getting back to the matter at hand, there are four factors to consider when looking at a potential Christmas tree: Color, Height, Aroma, and Thickness. If you ever forget the four factors, just think of that old Christmas saying, "If our tree blows this year, I'm going to have a CHAT with a divorce lawyer."


Color is one of the easiest factors to judge in any Christmas tree. Traditionally, Christmas tree buyers go either for trees that are completely green to insure that the needles will remain on the tree for the longest possible time, or completely brown because they like their Christmas trees to have experience. What color you decide to go with is a personal choice, but I'd have to recommend you stick with green trees. Brown is really more of a "Fall" color.


But what kind of green should you get? Logic would suggest that you get the greenest of the greens, but what is that supposed to mean? What's green is green, you'd think. Not so. I was shocked to discover that there are literally several different shades of green. At first, it seemed like a daunting task, trying to pick the perfect shade, but I did manage to narrow it down through years of careful experimentation. For starters, don't get a dark green Christmas tree. They're harder to see at night, which means you need to put extra lights on them, and that can only lead to disaster in the form of a flaming pine tree, and let me tell you, it's a special kind of scream that children make when they think all their precious gifts are about to be consumed by fire. That said, avoid light green Christmas trees as well. A tree that is too lightly colored has probably been bleached improperly. The proper way to bleach a tree is to empty out a container of bleach (rated at no less than 32 loads) into a bucket, have a friend wearing a raincoat spin the tree around, and then hurl the contents of the bucket at the tree. However, if you decide to leave the bleach in its original container before throwing it at the spinning tree, the result is a more pale green tree, thanks to bleach's inherent property of self-bleaching when not properly exposed to sunlight and any kind of procedure that can be described as "proper."

In short, no pale green trees. The kind of tree that every sensible family will want is one that is green like the shade of fresh moss. Therefore, you should bring at least a pocketful of moss with you when you go shopping, probably more so that you can share with everyone else. If you can't find any moss near where you live, pour some water on the floor of a poorly ventilated room in your home, prevent any light from entering the room, and wait. In about a week or so, you'll have plenty of mold that can be used as a substitute for moss. Make sure to keep some around for next year, too.


Obviously, it would be a mistake to get a tree that is too tall for wherever it is that you live. That's just inviting disaster by way of improper ax/saw usage. Short trees can be even worse in that regard, as no one likes to be known as the man with the shortest trunk, if you take my meaning. Tree-buying neophytes out there will tell you that the secret to getting a tree that's the right height is as simple as that credo you learned in shop class: measure twice, cut once. That is a complete load. If you measure something right the first time, why should you have to measure it a second time? It's a waste of valuable time, and time is a precious commodity around this time of year (note: please do not take this as a personal recommendation that you get your children "time" or any sort of mechanical chronometer for Christmas. They don't appreciate that stuff as much as you and I). To measure the height of the ideal tree, have your first-born son stand up straight so that you can measure him. If you don't have any children, adopt one, but only if he's a first born. Anything less will throw off the calculations. Once he's standing in place, have him place one hand atop his head so that his wrist is resting on the top of his head, and his fingertips are pointed skyward. Now, get a tape measure and measure from the soles of his feet to the tip of his middle finger (measure carefully, or you'll have to measure a second time). This it the ideal height for your Christmas tree. If your eldest son does not have a middle finger due to an accident resulting from last year's attempt at fixing a tree that was too tall, then I'm afraid you'll need to get a new son. And don't even think about getting a daughter instead, because the whole "ovulation" thing can really throw off your measurements. Did you know that when ovulating, women temporarily grow an extra 6 inches taller? It's true.

Nuh uh.

Your tree will need to smell exactly right if you hope to evoke the proper holiday imagery in the minds of your friends and family. The trouble with aroma is that it can't be discerned from very far away, and if it can, you should definitely not get that tree. The smell of a tree should be just so that you know it's a pine tree, but at the same time you should be able to escape the smell without any great effort on your part. When selecting the tree, start from a distance of roughly four feet, give or take four more feet. Once you are the proper distance from the tree, begin smelling. Don't smell too vigorously or you'll hyperventilate, and then you'll have to start the whole process over again when and if you regain consciousness. If you don't smell pine, begin slowly walking forward. The smell should gradually emerge the closer you get. If your test is interrupted because you've been poked in the eye by pine needles, you're too close. If the smell is so strong that your ears start burning and your eyes swell up, move on to the next tree. If you smell spray paint, it's time to start over at step C. Before beginning the test again, you'll probably need some sort of palette cleanser to insure that you aren't picking up any background pine from your previous trial. I recommend a freshly cooked spring sausage. A quality tree store will provide one for you just because, but if not, you'll need to make one yourself right there on the spot. Simply take a single frozen sausage, whittle one end down (all my fans should be prepared to whittle at a moment's notice in case of an emergency whittling contest with Satan) so that it fits into your car's cigarette lighter, and insert. Within seconds, the cooking power of electricity will produce a sausage unlike any other, and the smell will be strong enough to remove any lingering pine stench. Afterwards, be sure to clean out the cigarette lighter with a moistened finger.

Getting closer.

The final, and perhaps most important, criteria for determining the best of the best of the trees is the thickness. I'm not talking about the thickness of the trunk, although that could be problematic, too. I'm talking about the branches and the pine needles. A tree of the ideal thickness will have the right amount of branches and the right amount of needles per branch to insure both a happy holiday and a merry Christmas. Don't worry, though, this step will not involve a lot of counting. In fact, this phase hearkens back to the olden days of Christmas tree shopping, when the ability to count made you overqualified for the few available jobs. Back then, they had a technique for figuring out the right thickness for Christmas trees that didn't involve a lot of pesky numbers and bothersome, college-level counting: First, part the branches with your hands. Once you've created a fairly large gap between the branches, insert a cat into the tree. As most cat owners are no doubt aware, cats love Christmas trees, but we're not interested in them drinking the disgusting water/pine sap mix that the tree sits in; this is about their love for climbing the trees. Once the cat is in place, release the branches. The ideal tree will be so thick with branches that the cat will be unable to move about within the branches, as the last thing you want is a tree that's roomy enough to let a cat climb around in, knocking down ornaments and making sure that you get a chance to pick up every single one of the tree's goddamn needles as they fall and work their way through the tree skirt into the carpeting. Of course, if the tree is too thick, you'll just wind up with a crushed cat in a tree. That said, make sure that you check any potential trees for dead cats in case another wise shopper beat you to the punch.

Just follow these four easy guidelines and you too will be able to lay your hands on a fine-lookin' Christmas tree. Of course, all this is immaterial if you plan on buying a plastic tree. For plastic trees, the rules are essentially the same, apart from the aroma. Frankly, any kind of fake smell on a plastic tree is just totally unnecessary. I mean, come on. Who are you trying to fool? People know it's fake. It's perfectly symmetrical, and it weighs about half as much as a real tree. Ooh, that's a good point: when you buy a plastic tree, make sure you don't let any of your friends lift it, or they'll know it's a fake. Good hunting, everybody.

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