Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Burning Of The Christmas Tree 2007

A few weeks before the Christmas of 1989, Michelle and my first Christmas together as a married couple, my parents gave us a nice fake tree that they said would last us for years. It did. We used it for fourteen years straight, and it always looked wonderful.

In 2003 we made the switch to a real tree and we won’t go back. After the holidays, realizing that we no longer lived in the city limits of Franklin (we moved in the spring of that year) and left behind city garbage collection and Christmas tree removal, a new family tradition was born, and was practiced yet again today, January 13th, 2007:

The Burning Of The Christmas Tree

I know what you're probably thinking right about now- "It's the 13th! What took you so long! Christmas was 19 days ago for Christmas' sake."

Well, to successfully and safely execute “The Burning Of The Christmas Tree” you must have certain conditions present: No rain, relatively dry ground/fire pit, no wind, and time available to pull it all off. Over the last three weeks we just haven’t had all those things line up for us. Today they did- just barely.

We were just an hour or two from yet another rainstorm. It has been raining constantly here for weeks with just a few days off between storms. You can see from this radar image taken right about the time we lit up the tree that another storm was approaching. The red arrow is where our house is, and the yellow arrow is where K is- she is at camp this weekend, and missed the family tradition this year.

So, the tradition entails making sure all the decorations are off (Michelle did this the day after Christmas), the water is out of the tree stand reservoir (done this morning), and a clear walkway out the front door is made. We drop the tree onto a tarp, and haul it out the front door and place it on a small trailer hooked up to my mower.

Then off it goes to the fire pit at the back of our property.

I then dig a small hole in the middle of the pit for the tree trunk, and drop it in. You can burn a Christmas tree on its side, but you lose the towering inferno look I always look for in a burning Christmas tree.

Once positioned, it’s as simple as lighting the tiniest little branch sticking out from the bottom, and getting away. You have no doubt heard of the saying "Lit up like a Christmas tree." That old saying has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas lights strung carefully around a tree. No- its all about the nuclear fusion that takes place about 10 seconds after the tree really catches- 20 seconds, and everything is over.

Here is a photo montage of this years action. You can see the small flame that caught with the very first attempt...

Here we are at about T plus 5 seconds...

Now at T plus 10 seconds...

And finally a full 20 seconds after the first flame licked the bottom of the tree, it’s over.

The tradition is fun for the whole family- we all get out there and watch it burn up. One year we did it at night and it lit up the whole back yard.

Oh- this is the fire extinguisher my wife insists we bring out to “The Burning Of The Christmas Tree.” Ever since the fire I started in the yard a couple summers ago she just doesn’t trust me. More on that another day.

The tradition is fun, but there is something also sad about it. The Burning Of The Christmas Tree is the "period" to our family's annual sentence "Christmas is over."

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Anonymous said...

Oh, there is something sad and so final about it. The poor little tree! But talk about a ceremony! You sure go through a lot for tradition! LOL!

Thanks for sharing this with the Carnival of Family Life.

DigitalRich said...

Local Girl-

You are welcome! It really is fun for some reason. We all look forward to it. K was upset she missed it this year, but was happy to see the pics on the blog.


Mary said...

That looks like a really fun tradition *recalls fond memories of my pyro days* Here from the CFL.

Anonymous said...

Here from CFL....

What a fun and "interesting" tradition. Something about setting things on fire that can get a person going - LOL. We live rurally so we burn stuff all the time. My husband laughed when he first me me and found out how much we "burned" and now it's a way of life for I took the city boy out of the city!

DigitalRich said...

As featured on the Carnival of Family Life

Anonymous said...

Man, that looks like way too much fun!!! We've had all that same rain as you. It should be snow! bah. :)

Anonymous said...

What a fun tradition. There is something sad about it, but at least it is a fun thing to do as a family and something your kids will remember forever.

Here via the carnival of family life.

Dave Barger said...

This is a routine for our family of four as well (just east of Memphis in Fayette county).