Every year, my family and I bundle up in warm rain gear and boots (we’re in Oregon, after all) and head to a local Christmas tree farm. There, we chase each other in the maze of noble firs, looking for that perfectly-sized, mostly symmetrical tree. When we find it, we get down in the mud to saw it off and haul it to the car in a wheelbarrow supplied by the farm. We carefully tie it to the top of our SUV, hoping that the sap won’t somehow infiltrate the sunroof.
It’s a fun family outing that has become tradition. But it isn’t without pains, namely: rain, mud, sap, pine needles, and general concern for the well-being of the top of our car.
So when I heard that Amazon, in its never-ending quest to bring everything we could possibly dream of to our doorstep, planned to sell real Christmas trees this year, we decided to try it out — and give ourselves a break from the rain and the sap. Here’s how things went.
Free shipping, but not two-day Prime
I went to Amazon’s website and typed “real Christmas trees” in the search field. A bunch of results popped up that were a mix of mini, potted live evergreens and artificial trees with the word “real” or “lifelike” in the description. It took quite a bit of scrolling to find what I was looking for: “Hallmark Real Christmas Tree, Black Hills Spruce, Six Foot to Seven Foot.” I clicked on it to take a closer look.
The description noted that, “the 6-7 foot Black Hills Spruce real Christmas tree ships fresh cut, boxed, and double baled with twine straight from a United State family-owned farm, direct to your doorstep so you can focus on the joys of holidays. Ships free on Prime.”
I guess Amazon’s two-day shipping doesn’t work for everything.
Then, I looked at the price tag: $100! Expensive, for sure, and much more than I’d pay at a tree lot or farm. But I guess that’s the price of convenience? I mean, it is coming to my front door, and if I lived in, say, Manhattan, and didn’t have a car, that would be pretty freakin’ convenient.
I clicked “add to cart,” and learned that Amazon’s Prime two-day shipping doesn’t apply to Christmas trees. Instead, I was given a three-day delivery window that started a full eight days from the order date. I guess Amazon’s two-day shipping doesn’t work for everything. But that’s something to note if you’re considering buying a tree on Amazon this season: better hop on it now or it will arrive after Christmas.
Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree
The tree actually arrived three days sooner than promised, which was both a pleasant surprise and a bummer, as I was out of town when it came, so it sat in a box for almost two full days after it was delivered. It was in a long box, and tied up — like how a tree from a lot would be. I thought, for sure, that it would be dried out after sitting in the box, but it actually looked reasonably fresh (no noticeable drying or brown spots) and smelled like pine when we pulled it out of the box.
I didn’t know what to expect symmetry-wise — would it look like a decent family holiday tree, or more of the Charlie Brown variety? Would they try to pull a fast one on me and give me a lopsided, ugly tree? Or worse, a skinny one with no meaty branches?
But I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was pretty evenly filled out and looked nice in our living room – almost as good as one I would have picked at a lot myself. It definitely was closer to 6 feet than 7 feet, though. We got it set up in our living room, put it in water, and of course, decorated it.
So, was buying a tree from Amazon a good idea? For me, other than having to pay a bit more, the experience was largely positive. We got a decent tree that wasn’t too dry and looks nice in the living room. While I did miss traveling to the farm (they usually have hot apple cider and cocoa!), I didn’t miss the work of lifting the tree onto our roof and tying it to the car. For people without a means to transport a tree from a lot, or who want to spare wear-and-tear on their cars, Amazon is a great option.
Obviously, if you’re like Clark Griswold and enjoy jaunts to the forest to find that perfect tree, you will definitely find the experience of having a tree delivered via Amazon lacking. If the hunt for the tree is as important as the tree itself, buying on Amazon isn’t for you.
As for me? The purchase was a success. We have a nice tree in the living room, and I can now focus on other holiday activities.
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