19 December 2013

Christmas Trees Past

(This is not a photo of our real Christmas tree.  I don't have that decorated yet, so you're getting a view of what I do have done, on top of the piano.  I'm hoping you'll see some photos of the real tree soon.)

We bought a Christmas tree yesterday.  As I confessed to my friend in the north land, I have never bought a Christmas tree in flip flops before.  (I was in the flip flops; the tree wasn't.)  It was 75 degrees F, on December 18.

They played lovely music in the tree stand--not the blaring "music" they play in the grocery store or Walmart, but real Christmas carols with orchestras and choirs and even children's choirs.  I thanked the man for having good taste.

They did not offer hot drinks at the Christmas tree stand.  Lemonade would have been more appropriate for the weather.

When I was growing up, we always had a real tree (except the year when my mom had just had surgery...that story in a minute).  Many times, we bought it at lots near the grocery store; one year, my dad and I bought one on Christmas eve for super cheap because we just hadn't gotten to it before then.

Then I had this idea that it would be fun to cut our own tree, and my family went along with it.  Or, different parts of the family went along with it different years.  One year, my mom and I headed out on our own to the snowy farm to select our dream tree, enjoyed the free hot chocolate, loaded our treasure in the back of the truck, and started for home.

"Where's the tree?" my dad and brother wanted to know.  "In the truck," we said.

But it wasn't.

Back along the road we went, until there in the huge bank of snow that had given it a soft landing we found it, unharmed.

We didn't go cut a tree the year my mom had surgery a few weeks before Christmas.  No one else had bothered to get a tree (although I probably had one at my house a few hours away, cut for five dollars in the woods), so we dug out the fake ones from the garage.  We didn't normally use the fake ones from Goodwill for anything other than porch decor, but this time we thought we'd group them inside the house, just to have something.

Well, our cats spent a lot of time in the garage during the cold winters, and the trees weren't in the house long before we realized they'd been marked.  I don't remember if we got a real tree with a nice pine scent to replace them, but we didn't let those trees back in the house again!

I wouldn't call myself a die-hard when it comes to having a Christmas tree.  Some (or most) years, I have one, or enjoy one at family members' houses.  Other years, I do fine without one.  

Yet I enjoy bringing a festive bit of nature and beauty indoors, though, almost like a giant bouquet of fresh-cut flowers, and I don't picture myself ever committing to a fake tree.

That's why, when I lived in a place where I could cut a Christmas tree in the woods for a mere $5, I rallied friends every year to go out for an afternoon of snowy fresh air to find my little treasure.  Some years, it was an assortment of college friends; another year, it was a brave couple with their baby bundled on a sled (yes, a brave mama indeed!); another year, it was my future in-laws and some of their extended family.

Eventually, my brother did catch on to the festivities of cutting his own tree, too.  As my mom later confessed, it's dangerous sending a couple of sanguines out on an errand like that.  Because, you see, the cut-your-own lot they found was selling any size of tree for the same price, and it was my parents' first year in a house whose living room's ceiling could accommodate any size of tree they could find at the lot.  If the tree fits, why not cut it?

"Do you think we can tie it to the car without denting the roof?" they asked each other, after cutting the tree down.  Not to worry, though, the tree lot truck would be happy to deliver it, and leave it in the front yard.

Then the only dilemma would be getting it into the house.  A tall tree is also a w-i-d-e tree, and it won't fit through the door.

Two sanguines, however, are just the kind of people to have this problem, because when they are struggling with the tree in the front yard, and the husband and wife passers-by out for their daily walk ask if they need help, they don't feign independence like my father and I would do, but rather take it as a great opportunity to meet new friends.

"Yes!  We do need help!"

It takes all four to carry the tree around the back, and through the wider sliding glass door.  It turns out the wife's name is Esther, who, according to my brother, was sent for just such a time as this.

I know some people don't like the idea of buying a live tree or cutting one, because if we're environmentally inclined, after all, we should be planting trees, not destroying them.  But I don't mind being part of the forest's service's management program, or buying a tree that was grown particularly to be the delightful beauty in the corner of my living room.  They're already making plans to plant more trees right where that one grew.

And while I try to avoid the commercialism that says Christmas decor needs to be fresh and new every year, or that it needs to be fancy or expensive or extravagant, I love the chance I have to add a festive touch to my home.  Especially when it reminds me of the One who made the trees for me to enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Fun to hear these stories recounted!! And this is the first time I've seen the top of your piano -- I love it even more than I thought I would!! Beautiful!! :)


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