Getting the Christmas Tree Home via Bike: 2023 Edition

After crossing through the decade barrier last year, we’ve moved onto the 11th year of getting the Christmas Tree by bike. With Christmas itself nearly over, it was high time for me to finish this post. Obviously, this happened a few weeks ago – but equally, I think there’s a rule that says I can’t publish this annual post after Christmas Day.

Thus, let’s get to it!

As has been the tradition since moving to Amsterdam a number of years ago, we switched from regular bikes to cargo bikes. And with that, all of the kiddos were included in the bike too. This ain’t just a simple one-tree affair. No, there are three kids, snacks, a tree, and me (the poor guy steering it all). Plus my wife is on the second bike, keeping everything in order. Thus we loaded up the circus and headed towards the first florist.

Here in Amsterdam, florists turn into make-shift Christmas Tree dispensers around mid-November. Outside of a pharmacy, the florist is arguably the most important business type in the Netherlands. And heck, they even have better hours than pharmacies half the time. In any case, we went to our usual spot first to see the options.

However, the trees, while fine, did not pass the test. Namely, the price test. They were way more expensive than they should have been this year. So, onwards we moved to another spot.

And in this second spot, we had success finding a tree – for which I apparently have no photos of. It was now time for Santa’s brother to bag the tree up in netting, while bikes and such whirled by on the bike path.

I’m pretty sure this part of the experience is honestly The Peanuts’ favorite part. It’s not every day you get to stuff a tree into a mesh bag.

Then comes loading up the tree in the bike. Back in the day, I’d use ropes and bungee cords. But these days I know that with a properly loaded tree, no such stuff is required. Instead, you can simply stick the trunk/stump of the tree under the kids’ bike seat, and the weight-leverage of the tree itself keeps it perfectly in place. It’s literally impossible to fall out.

Then we get to play Tetris with the kids. The only problem is that these Tetris pieces express opinions about where they want to be placed. It’s not just a case of figuring out if the block will fit, but whether or not said block *wants* to fit in that spot.

With that all dealt with, it was off we rolled. Of course, this isn’t just a direct-to-home trip. Instead, it’s to hit up as many playgrounds as we can along the way. Seriously, we stopped at 5 playgrounds on this journey:

Heck, you don’t even need to worry about locking the bike on half of these. Nobody is gonna steal a cargo bike with a Christmas tree taller than most Dutch riders.

As darkness fell, we continued to meander around from playground to playground. Most visits were short-lived, the girls quickly giving the playground a whirl, and then deciding they wanted to go somewhere else instead. Like eating only the inside of an Oreo.

The girls would change positions each segment with where on the bike they’d be. There were essentially three spots: With the tree in the bucket, sitting on the back, or standing on the middle beam. All three kids are certified in all three positions – albeit standing tends to be the most popular.

As we neared home, after about 10km of playgrounds, the usual Dutch weather set in, slowly adding rain to the scene. While it had snowed the previous day and night, the weather had warmed quickly, leaving us with a not-so-Christmas-like rain.

On the bright side, another tree was successfully brought back home via cargo bike, along with three happy little Peanuts as well. While all three nuts can easily bike alongside for this journey, it’s way more fun to pile everyone aboard for a jaunt around the city. Oh, and here’s the Strava file to prove it.

With that – hope everyone had a great holiday, and a Merry Christmas this year! And looking ahead, Happy New Year as well! And in case you missed some of the previous years, here’s a random smattering from the past decade:

Velib2012 Velib2016 ChristmasTree2018 ChristmasTreeBikeCrop

Thanks for reading!


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  1. Dirk

    Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

    Thanks for lots of interesting stuff to watch and to read.

  2. Dr. D

    Merry Christmas to y’all from the Carolinas. The Peanuts are growing too!!

  3. Stephen Gaetke

    Merry Christmas to the Makers! Cheers Ray!

  4. Steve Peplinski

    Happy Fetivus for the rest of us

  5. Ron Gurney

    You’re a great Dad, Ray. The Peanuts will remember these moments for the rest of their lives. Ride on.

  6. Larry

    Love those Canadian Olympic mittens !

  7. ian

    Hope you had a great one ray and the peanut’s all growing up fast, this is an highlight of the Internet year !!

  8. Christian Untermoser

    You have been such an inspiration for the last decade, Ray!
    Have enjoyable and outstanding holidays!

  9. Heinrich Hurtz

    The open house and xmass tree posts have become a bright heartwarming tradition.

  10. Lander De Frene

    Such great memories were made for the kids! Keep the tradition up as long as possible! With their own bikes when they get too big, to other place than playgrounds when they lose interest, … Great family, happy new year!

  11. Hugh

    A Christmas classic….never gets old no matter how many times the story is retold. Thank you for all of the work that you do on your blog. It is a fantastic present that keeps on giving.

  12. Peter Z.

    My guess is that in the Netherlands this is by no means a unique adventure to your family. We in the States find it charming and quaint to an extent but I love how you are able to use your bikes for so much.

    Also, somehow along the way I lost track that you had 3 kiddos now! From some posts I found, looks like it’s been a few years. Oops, sorry about that.