David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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Christmas Trees


I need some help. I can’t figure out the Christmas tree situation.

Look at the facts: we buy 30 million cut trees every year, and we plant 90 million trees a year. We buy 8 million artificial trees a year, and those of us lucky enough to live up here are surrounded by millions of trees suitable for putting up in a living room. Unless something changes, within 20 years every family in America will have at least one artificial Christmas tree, and we will have a whole bunch of real trees left over. It’s possible, of course, that we may trade in our old, out-of-date 161 tip model for the new, deluxe 226 tip model.

Maybe that’s what’s in our Christmas Future: used Christmas tree lots.

My barber has had an artificial tree for the past four years. Another friend went to Boulder and bought a tree from Wisconsin. I have seen several weirdos cruising my road looking for a tree to steal; they apparently don’t realize that at 8,400 feet a six-foot Christmas tree is at least 30 years old. This isn’t just cutting a Christmas tree; it’s tree murder.

I have a hard time under standing people who spend an entire day in their $15,000 four-wheel drive vehicles stealing a $30 Christmas tree. How do they relate this activity to the spirit of Christmas? How can you celebrate the birth of Christ and enjoy presents opened under a stolen tree?

Perhaps, as has been suggested by others, our best alternative is a living tree. This is a tricky proposition if it involves a potted tree, subject to freezing, drying out and other problems we haven’t discovered. Still, it’s an appealing solution to the problem.

Most of us feel guilty about using up a real tree, and an artificial tree is hard to explain to Aunt Agnes in Florida.

This year we’re going to buy a tree. We’re not really happy about it, but Mary L. won’t have an artificial tree in the house, and I haven’t been able to find a tree on our property I’m willing to sacrifice. Unless I come up with something truly novel, I think this means we buy a tree. This involves an expedition, the usual problems involving how to tie it onto the car, considerable frowning if not raised eyebrows, when viewing the price tags and the inevitable finding that the tree is (a) too tall, which means cutting off several inches, at megabucks per inch, or, (b) that the trunk is too big for our stand.

I have several Christmas tree stands. None is big enough for the smallest trunk of any tree I’ve ever bought. Solving this dilemma involves a lot of hacking at the trunk of the tree and  language unbecoming to the season.

Thirty million Americans can’t be wrong. Neither can eight million Americans, but I don’t really want to be a member of either group.

Next year I’m really going to work on the problem. [The next year we bought an artificial tree]




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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