The Perfect Christmas Tree

Saturday was the perfect day to go Christmas Tree cutting. A crisp 35 afternoon with mostly sunny skies called us on our search. The kids grumbled at first, but the possibility of being left behind and not having a say in the choice of our tree overcame their lethargy. We headed out to our local tree farm, which we have visited for the last 4 years having discovered they have the most beautiful firs in the area. Of course, I had anticipated that we would need gloves and handed them out upon arrival. The kids gave me sheepish grins, but were happy to not have to keep their hands in their pockets. 

There was a light snow covering on the ground, which made our quest much more pleasing than walking through the mud of past years. We started walking toward the outer edge of the field, away from the other families also searching for the perfect tree. Fortunately there were so many to choose from, that there was no reason for competition. In fact, the only contest there was, was which kid could find the better tree.

It took less than 10 minutes to find one that we could all agree upon. Thankfully, they do recognize when it is not worth taking a stand, just for the sake of winning. The cold air probably helped. A nearby family had just claimed their tree and offered us a hand saw so we didn’t have to wait for the tractor to come around. My husband got down on the ground  while the kids supported the tree. I, of course, had the important job of capturing photos.      

They gave it a good try, but admitted defeat when the tractor came by.              The owners started up their chain saw       and the tree was toppled in seconds.      

They loaded it onto the tractor and then onto our car.           On the drive home, we chattered excitedly about how we would decorate it this year. The kids speculated on what their special ornament might be.

Special ornaments have been a family tradition since I was a baby. I have a collection of over 20 ornaments, ranging from souvenirs of places I visited, to symbolic ornaments for accomplishments of the year. Once I had my own children, the tradition began again. They have ornaments commemorating their favorite sports (soccer or gymnastics), teams (Red Sox), or trips we have taken.    This year, they each received a wooden donkey which we had purchased in Santorini after they rode the donkeys down from the top.

We started by stringing the lights, trying to create a uniform pattern and then added chains of glittery beads which gave a traditional look to the tree.    The old family ornaments were carefully placed and then the child or dog-proof plastic ones were hung near the bottom- a good thing since Cooper quickly batted a silver snowman to the ground. Then the kids claimed an area of the floor or couch to spread out their special collection. It was wonderful to see how they took the time to reflect on each one and remember why it had been given. My daughter even had hers lined up by year so she knew how old she was at each season.

The last decoration to adorn the tree was the hand crafted angel for the top, lovingly sewn by my aunt and given to me long ago she sits on the highest point and smiles at us during the Christmas holidays.         Is it the most beautiful tree? Would it pass the criticism of people with an eye for design? No and no; but my daughter did not make any negative remarks, probably because she knew they wouldn’t change the outcome but also because she gets how special our tree is and how many family treasures and priceless memories it holds. Now that is a wonderful tradition to uphold.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan
    Dec 14, 2011 @ 11:41:54

    OK, I will now go public with an embarrassing admission – we have a fake tree. It started years ago when we didn’t get a tree at all because we would be traveling over the holidays and didn’t want the fire hazard. I missed the tree, so we got a fake one. And, yikes!, I have to admit I like it – no more trying to saw it just right so it will stand straight in the stand, branches are even, no needles to be vacuumed up for months later. There, I admit it. I always loved going out and chopping the tree, held disdain for fakes, and now I have one!

    Your tree looks nice. Ours hasn’t gone up yet. We have ornaments much like yours. We pick them up in our travels, even if nowadays the travels are only to Lake George or Northampton,MA. My husband is old-fashioned and doesn’t want to use lights. I think I will show him the photos of your tree and see what he thinks. The lights look like they actually highlight the ornaments better.

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  2. Dounia
    Dec 14, 2011 @ 11:45:18

    This was a loving and heart-warming post to read! We have similar traditions in my family – we each have special ornaments that are specifically ours to hang and they all have their own significance. It’s the meaning behind the ornaments and those wonderful family traditions that make the tree so beautiful. May you and your family have a wonderful holiday season and a very merry christmas!

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  3. Carol
    Dec 14, 2011 @ 13:31:23

    I think today we will set up our fake, prelit tree. When the kids were growing up, we had real trees and the tradition of a new ornament for each every year. Now that we are alone and older and neither of us like stringing lights, we gave in to ease. Most likely our tree will have few ornaments this year, which is better than none like last year. Lily kitty is still a brat, so I’m going for safety.

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  4. themiddlegeneration
    Dec 14, 2011 @ 16:04:30

    Susan and Carol both mentioned they had fake trees, as if there was something wrong with that.I think it doesn’t matter what kind of tree you have as long as it makes you happy. They could justify their fake trees by saying they are reusable and preserve real trees. I can justify cutting my own as a way of supporting a local farmer and keeping green space renewable.Both theories seem to work, so enjoy your trees this season!

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