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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Leon Brocard

The reality of getting a Christmas tree in New York vs. your expectations

Will Gleason
Written by
Will Gleason

Nothing says the holidays in New York quite like stopping by your neighborhood tree stand and and finding the perfect evergreen for your apartment. But having a tree isn’t always a Christmas miracle. From ubiquitous needles to carrying it up five flights of stairs, this is the reality of what it’s like to put a giant tree in your house for a month. Because converted two-bedrooms don’t make for the best arboretums. 

What you expect: You'll stroll over to a tree stand one starlit evening and a charming lumbersexual—or Santa Claus in disguise—will help you find the perfect tree. Said tree will also most likely be a metaphor for the spirit of Christmas itself.
What actually happens: Your friend drunkenly convinces you to a buy a tree when you're stumbling home at 2am.

What you expect: Your tree will be delivered by a strapping young Norwegian man who probably arrives by sleigh.
What actually happens: You carry it home yourself to save money and end up dragging it up the stairs like a down-on-his-luck lumber baron.

What you expect: After setting it up, your apartment will be immediately transformed into the opening scene from The Nutcracker.
What actually happens: That tree looked a lot smaller on the street and your apartment now resembles the opening scene from Into The Woods.

What you expect: That you'd buy a tree and pretty much be done, right?
What actually happens: Crap, you forgot you needed to buy ornaments. And figure out somewhere to keep them in your non-existent storage space basically all year long.

What you expect: Your Christmas tree will be especially impressive, whimsical and charming.
What actually happens: You realize how expensive nice ornaments cost and how long craft projects involving tinsel take. Also, the only craft table you have is your ironing board. You decide to go with the monochromatic theme of "popcorn."

What you expect: Presents will just magically appear under the tree.
What actually happens: You have to go out and buy the goddamn presents, too. There is no Seamless for Christmas magic.

What you expect: Your apartment will start smelling like a really expensive forest-scented candle or, at the very least, a nice Glade plug-in.
What actually happens: You wake up every morning on your death bed because your gift for all 12 days of Christmas this year is allergies.

What you expect: Once you get the tree set-up and decorated you can just relax and enjoy it for the rest of the season.
What actually happens: You have to keep watering it, and the water always manages to leak through the floor like an expiring Frosty the Snowman.

What you expect: Buying a tree this year will make your holidays a little bit brighter and a lot more magic.
What actually happens: Basically that! But then you'll be spending most of January picking up needles.

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