Last year we didn’t have a Christmas tree. I know that sounds awful, as we have a 5 year old (then 4) daughter who loves all things Christmas. However, since we were planning on spending the holidays in Texas with my husband’s family, it just didn’t make sense to put up a tree that would most certainly be a crumbly fire hazard by the time we returned to the Snowy North. So, we did some minimal decorating, shipped our gift boxes to Dallas and hopped on a plane a few days before Christmas. And I confess, the limited post-holiday tear down was happily simple.
This year, we’re staying put. Since we hosted the family Thanksgiving gathering, it took us an extra week to get it in gear and rearrange the dining room to clear the necessary space for tree occupation. On Saturday, we were ready at last and headed out to find and secure a prize specimen. At the recommendation of a friend, we traveled east toward Fremont in search of Miller’s Nursery, where a variety of trees – both Christmas and non-holiday specific – can be found. The day was bright and cold, and there was still a light spattering of white on the ground from the season’s first snowfall earlier in the week. Quite an idyllic scene, to be sure.
Upon arrival we spotted a family of fellow tree-hunters returning with their prize, manual bow saw in hand. “Hmmm, interesting…” I thought to myself. We were going to have to cut down our own tree??? A trip to the ER waiting to happen if you ask me… Still, we were game. Off we marched into the field to survey the offerings. And quite an array there was! Blue Spruce, Scotch Pine, Douglas Fir, and many others, ripe for the picking. And either quite large or somewhere on the Charlie Brown-style end of the spectrum. Showing up early counts, and as far as Christmas-tree hunting goes, we were at least a week late to the party. Still, there were a number of beautiful trees available that – minus about 3 feet – would do nicely.
While Caroline danced through the field throwing handfuls of snow in the the air, Steve and I narrowed down the choices and at last selected a 10 foot beauty that was as yet unclaimed. We grabbed the ticket off the tree and headed back to find the Millers for assistance. To our immense relief, Mr. Miller took one look at our tree and the bow saw were timidly examining, laughed, and told us he’d be back momentarily with his chainsaw. With the Millers’ help, our tree was down, trimmed to a more moderate 8′ height, and loaded in the back of our truck within about 15 minutes. Back at the top of the hill the tree spent a few minutes in the “shaker”, shedding dead needles, dirt and ice while Steve, Caroline and I went inside to have some hot chocolate and make payment. A hand-knitted hat, 2 cups of cocoa, some buckeyes and a plateful of snickerdoodles later, we bundled back into the truck at last and headed home.
As it turned out, Steve had to remove another foot of tree trunk and several more bottom branches before we could get our tree inside. Whew! But, all’s well that ends well. Caroline and I spent the rest of the evening trimming our beloved Christmas tree and decorating the rest of the house, surrounded by the heavenly scent only a live tree can lend to a holiday home.
The events of the weekend brought out a number of emotions in me that I’m sure you recognize and share – exhilaration, nostalgia, contentment, joyfulness, anticipation, comfort and serenity, all rolled into one. Underscore that with HAPPINESS, and we’re there. Remembering Christmases past, carrying on the traditions that speak to us and sharing them with our daughter, forming the memories that SHE will take with her into adulthood – and eventually parenthood – and ABOVE ALL, savoring these moments. They are precious, each and every one.
And so, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, full of moments like these. May they be rich and plentiful!
Oh! And speaking of Charlie Brown, how’s this for nostalgia? http://youtu.be/Kw6h4mZO1oU