Despite what the advertising machine might have me believe, as far as I’m concerned, it just isn’t Christmastime until I get my tree. Especially in Santa Barbara. It doesn’t matter how many times PayLess wishes me Merry Christmas or how many shopping days there are left; if there are blue skies out my window, such details do nothing to coax my Christmas spirit out of the box in which it hibernates, alongside the lights and ornaments. Merrily, however, the reverse is also true: It can be 80 degrees outside, but if I’m breathing in a big ol’ whiff of pine, well, I’m swiftly transformed into a jollier version of myself. One who believes it reasonable to entertain the fantasy that, yes, a new Lexus with a bright red bow tied around it just might be there to greet me on Christmas morning. One who blithely chooses to ignore the decidedly anti-green ethos of the Christmas tree tradition. One who is suddenly moved to bake.
By last weekend, the Christmas Spirit within was stirring. The Indy‘s resident Holiday Enforcer, Rachel Weight, had taken it upon herself to strategically station a tree between our office and the kitchen, and every time I caught a whiff, I felt I should be doing something-something like shopping. Or baking. Or watching It’s a Wonderful Life. And so, on Saturday, although I’d still yet to get any shopping (or baking, or holiday-themed tear-jerker watching) done, I made my way to Goleta’s Lane Farms, to procure my own piece of Christmas and to check out the evergreen-scouting peeps. Searching for the perfect tree and surrounded by such festive environs, pretty much everyone seemed to be steeped in that Christmas Spirit-even those of us who found ourselves (very, very) lost within the cornhusk maze. And, later that night, munching on a Christmas cookie underneath my tastefully blinged tannenbaum, I thought to myself, Damn, this is almost as good as homemade.