I am so excited.  My favorite time of year is almost here.  That's right, Christmas Season is just around the corner!

I know, I know, we haven't even done Thanksgiving yet...or Halloween.

It doesn't matter, in the House of Derek, Christmas decorations go up November 1st. Since I was a little boy, Christmas has always been a big deal for me.  The music, the decorations, the food, all of it...it's just a really special time.

It's been several years since I spent Christmas in Montana and this will be my wife's first, so we are currently having the debate over the Christmas Tree.  Do we go real, or do we go artificial?

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If we do go with a real tree, do we go full Montana and go out, pick a tree and cut it down?  I realize that is very Hallmark Movie-like, but I see a whole lot of things going wrong.  I'm thinking, less Hallmark and more Clark Griswold.

I feel like most people are on one side or the other on this whole thing.

I was raised with artificial trees, so I've never had a real one.  My wife, she likes the whole "real tree" experience. For me, it's probably the fact that for my entire childhood, my parents told me that we couldn't have a real tree because "it can burn down the house".  So, when my wife suggested we get a real tree, the first thing that I said was "it can burn down the house".

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It seems like folks on Social Media are split as well.  With a whole lot of folks choosing a side and giving reasons for their choice.  The biggest reason in support of an artificial tree is the mess of a real tree.

However, if you are looking for a real tree and you want to go out and cut it down yourself, here's the good news, you have options. Starting November 14th, you can get a permit to cut down your own tree from the Gallatin National Forests.  Each permit is 5 dollars with a limit of 3 permits per family.  Permits are available from the following locations:

  • Livingston Ace Hardware
  • Owenhouse Ace Hardware (Downtown Bozeman)
  • Murdoch's Ranch and Home Supply
  • Lee and Dad's IGA (Belgrade)
  • Belgrade True Value
  • Big Sky Conoco
  • Corner Conoco (West Yellowstone)
  • North Entrance Food Farm (Gardiner)

I hesitate in letting my wife know about this, because she will insist that we make this a new Christmas tradition.  So, if you see some poor guy out in the forest looking lost, confused and sweating profusely , carrying a saw with a wife telling him to "cut down that one right there", it's probably me.

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