Christmas time is a time of family traditions. I'm sure your family has many, as does ours. Yesterday we partook in the merry tradition of tree decorating. This is how it played out:
**We are one of five families in the whole world who still purchase a fresh tree. There is nothing pre-fab or synthetic in our tree stand!! We like to drive 1/2 hour to the big city south of us to purchase from the YMCA lot at the mall. No, we don't have a membership there, we just like their trees. (the only place here to buy a fresh tree is at the grocery store, along with some canned beans.) This year, we switched up the tradition. Aly was in school when we left, so we didn't bring her. The usual tradition is that she comes along and sits in the car complaining about how cold it is, constantly repeating, "Can we go home now?" Even though we were in jackets (Calvin was just in shirt sleeves) we knew she wouldn't miss the adventure.
**After living in Oregon for a few years, I grew quite fond of Noble Firs. They are the most gorgeous Christmas tree you can have. Also, in Oregon, you can go to a farm and cut your own Noble for $5-$10. Not here. Nobles cost around $100, which makes them slightly out of my price range. I have switched my allegiance to Fraser Firs. They are almost as beautiful and quite aromatic. The three of us (Calvin, Adam and myself) sequestered ourselves in the Fraser section of the lot and had a healthy debate over which tree was best. I wanted the 7 foot, Calvin wanted the 6 foot (it's cheaper) and Adam just wanted to pick it. We started a new tradition: Rock/Paper/Scissors determined who got to pick the tree. Lucky for the men, I won. Yet, suspiciously enough, when I pointed to the tree I wanted, Calvin kept pointing at another saying, "I think you want that one." Suspiciously enough, we ended up taking home the tree Calvin kept pointing at (the 6 footer).
**It's an interesting tradition getting the tree home: It is tied to the roof of our car and I spend the half hour on the highway looking at it through the rear-view mirror, making sure it isn't moving too much, or that it will unexpectedly flip off the car and impale the driver of the car behind us. I end up with a crick in my neck by the time we get home. (I never trust that the guys get it tied on securely.)
**Once we're home comes the fun part. Debating whether we need to cut the end off again (has it been longer than 1/2 hour since the guy at the lot cut it off?), getting the tree in the stand and getting the lights on. I'm very lucky that Calvin takes care of all this dirty work. (Give it a year or two and Adam will be out there with him!) This year was fun. No matter how he tried, the tree is crooked in the stand. But, if you hold your head at an angle, it's okay.
**This year Calvin worked for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes making sure all the lights work and getting them on the tree. After it was finished and with sweat streaming down his face and dripping in his eyes, he plugged them in. Half didn't work. Of course, it was the half in the middle. I was quickly dispatched to Walgreens to purchase new lights.
**600 brand new lights on the tree. Who needs a lamp in the living room?
**This year brought Aly into the living room with us as we decorated! This, again, is new and much enjoyed. When she was a finicky 14 year old, she sat on the stairs, frowning and not helping. (She still insists that she won't carve pumpkins with us.)
** For as many years as I can remember, Santa has given me a new ornament from Hallmark on Christmas morning. I'm kind of old, so I have a lot of ornaments. Santa started bringing them to Calvin when he married me, that has been almost 21 years, so he has a lot of ornaments. Santa brings ornaments to my children, which adds to the numbers. I have two Rubbermaid boxes filled to the brim with Hallmark ornaments. My job is to go through the boxes, pull out the ornaments, remember whose they are and give them to that person to hang on the tree. I love that job. Adam wants to take it from me. I won't give it up willingly. Aly, actually hung her ornaments on the tree. That is 17 ornaments!! YOU GO GIRL!!!
**Finally, the lights are on, the ornaments are hung and we read our scripture and story from the 24 Days of Christmas. Family prayer and everyone heads to bed. Everyone but me. Now I get to move that huge mass of ornaments that is eye level to Adam and in one place in the front of the tree to create a more aesthetically pleasing balance. I pour two more pitchers of water in the tree stand, remind the dog and cat that the water is for the tree NOT them, turn off the lamps and bask in the glow of fresh pine scent and multi-colored lights twinkling at me.
It's soooo worth it!!
(Hold your head crooked and the tree looks straight)