Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Search for a Christmas Tree

Historically, I am a horrible blogger in December, and that doesn’t seem to be changing this year!  There are just so many things going on that it’s hard for me to blog regularly.  But there are so many fun things going on that I’m going to do my best to try to stay more caught up than usual.

This past weekend was crazy busy.  We left the house on Saturday morning at 9:45, got haircuts for all the kids, looked for a table for the breakfast nook (that is large enough for us all to sit at – we found one!), ate lunch, then went to a Christmas tree farm to find the perfect Christmas tree.  I was looking for a “pumpkin patch-esque” experience, and with some help from friends, found a place that offered tractor rides, the opportunity to cut down your own tree, and complimentary hot chocolate. 

DSC_9452 I very distinctly remember the trip to find a Christmas tree as a child.  Things never went as planned.  The fact that it never went as planned was probably the best thing about it.  Each year, without fail, something horribly wrong would happen.  For instance, I remember the tree that was so crooked that my parents had to tie twine to the top of it and attach it to door frames to keep it standing straight.  I remember the tree that was a little taller than estimated that my dad had to chop the top off  so that it fit in our house– I think it took 2 tries to get it just right.  I remember the time my dad decided to buy a VERY small tree (much to my mom’s displeasure) that could be planted in our yard afterwards.  And how could I forget the year that my grandfather let someone else cut down the tree that my dad had been waiting to reach the perfect height for years? 

But, probably the best year was one that was caught on videotape.  You could hear my aunt laughing the whole time.  My dad was trying to saw down the tree and asking my brothers what they had done to his saw because it wasn’t working well.  My mom wanted us all to spend a little time trying to saw down the tree, so we have some video of that.  But the best part of the video was when my dad poked his head out from under the tree and said, “I thought I told you to turn that {censored} camera off.”  Static followed. 

It sounds like a disaster (and it was), but I love everything about that memory.  Something is so right in the way that everything went so wrong, because everyone was trying to make it the perfect Christmas tree experience.  To me, that’s Christmas.  It’s the trying to make it special that makes it special – not the outcome.  We never had a “perfect” Christmas tree when I was growing up, but I would never want any tree other than the the ones we had. 

I was certainly hoping to make similar memories for our kids, but I was also thinking that we’d come home with a nice 8 foot tree that we all magically agreed was the most perfect tree in the world, and that we would all cut it down with smiles on our faces. 

I have no idea why I had that expectation.

The kids were SO EXCITED and could hardly wait to find a tree and cut it down.  We immediately got a saw and took a tractor ride to where the trees were ready for the cutting.

DSC_9420 DSC_9557Once we made it down to the Christmas tree area, there was a great Santa’s sleigh that was perfect for a few photos.


The Christmas tree farm even had a couple of REAL reindeer.  The kids could not believe it.  They LOVED the reindeer.

DSC_9503Unfortunately, it looks like most people buy their trees more than 2 weeks before Christmas, so the selection was not quite what we had hoped for.

We finally found a tree that we liked that was about 6.5 feet tall.  I’d wanted a taller tree, but that just wasn’t going to happen.  I definitely considered running by Lowe’s on the way home to pick up a tree, but by God we were at the Christmas tree farm and we were going to leave with a tree.  The kids all LOVED the tree (but they loved all the trees, and directed Gary to cut down almost everyone they saw).

DSC_9517 DSC_9525True to tradition, Gary handed the saw to each child, VERY BRIEFLY, so that they thought they were helping us cut down the tree.

DSC_9534 And everyone watched Gary with great anticipation as he pretended to saw down the tree. 


“Pretended” being a key word.  See, the problem is that we ended up picking a tree that was in a bucket and marked “dig only.”  There just weren’t any trees to cut down that were even 6.5 feet tall.  The kids think that we cut the tree down, and we aren’t going to tell them otherwise.  Because we HAD to leave that place with a tree.

What we didn’t know about the bucket was how hard that would make it to put the tree on the top of my car. In fact, it was going to be quite a problem.  That part was definitely not fully explained before we picked the tree.  After some discussion, and not just a little bit of frustration on Gary’s part (okay, to be honest, Gary was downright pissed), we told them to just cut the tree out of the bucket and put it on the car. 

DSC_9570 And away we went, back home, with our tree on the roof of the car.

DSC_9585 The kids just could not believe that we had a tree on top of our car! 

On Sunday morning, we had a run to the pediatrician due to Henry’s suffering an ear injury (the whole top of his ear was purple after running into the armoire in their bedroom), and a trip to the grocery store and another store to pick up a tree stand.  Then we went to a really fun birthday party, ran some more errands on the way home, and came home for baths and dinner.  Penelope was exhausted and demanding bed, so we put her in bed then decorated the tree.

We actually didn’t fully “decorate” the tree.  We just put some Christmas lights on it.  No reason to push it.  We still have 8 little hands who want nothing more than to play with the tree.  Lights are all the festivity we need for now. . . .

Anyway.  The kids were beside themselves with the excitement of putting lights on the tree.  I honestly cannot think of when I’ve had that much fun.  Piper was especially cute.  She kept saying, “I love it.”  And we all do.

Because it may not be the tree or the experience I envisioned, but it’s perfect all the same.


prettyhelmet said...

the best memories are the ones that involve my dad getting pissed off beyond belief and my mom and sisters laughing so hard they were crying.

Merry Christmas Heather. love to you, Gary, Piper, Rosemary, Henry, and Penelope!

JoLynn said...

I love it!