We had a fake Christmas tree when I was a kid. I never thought it was strange, that was just what my family did. I think my mom said we had it because she was allergic to pine. Maybe she did it because Christmas trees are so completely expensive, whatever the reason that was what we did. And you know I loved it. Why? Because my mom made it special each year. We would get sparkling apple cider, assemble the tree, Brett (my oldest brother) always got to put the top on the tree, until one year when I was finally tall enought to do it. A red letter year I can assure you. Then we would decorate it. We each had our own box of ornaments. My mom made ornaments each year and we each got to choose one. I remember them being magical, these special decorations that my mother lovingly made for us. We now have all these ornaments, my mom gave us our boxes when we moved out. As a result of my childhood tastes I now have an inordinate amount of pink sparkly Christmas tree ornaments. One she actually made out of my favorite necklace that broke. A redemption of a true sadness, I still can remember the exact moment when those pink opalescent heart beads scattered over the bathroom floor.
This year we took part in a tradition that is almost the complete opposite of assembling a fake tree we actually got to pick out our own tree in the forest and cut it down. A family that owns a fairly large piece of property a little outside our town, for ten bucks, you can cut down your own tree. We called and made arrangements, she told us to bring a saw. We ran errands in town, ans realised we forgot a saw. We called and were assured that there would be a saw to borrow. After a long drive up and up past lots for trailheads farther into the forest we came to their property gate. We parked at their house, the mom came out and directed us to follow her husband and son up into their property. We got out of the car, wind whipped around us blowing snow and chilling us to the bone. I tucked Emma into the sling. I saw one tree, it was about the right height. Standing next to it I saw a hollow spot. Nope. We hiked in a bit more I saw a tree that seemed perfect. I stood next to it and called out to Scott. It was a bit tall, but the sons of the family told us that they could cut it shorter. Within minutes the eldest son was carrying the tree over his shoulder. Scott and the son jammed it into our car and we were on our way back to the house for hot chocolate and to pay for our tree. As we drove home and a tree branch was poking me in the neck I looked at Scott,
"Did we just forget twine or rope?"
"I wasn't sure how do it yourself it was,"
"Neither was I," looks like we had a few things to learn about cutting down our own tree.
At home mounted in the corner of the living room the tree still seems perfect. The cold that forced me to decisive seems to be a good thing.
Now that we have a baby it's our turn to create traditions. To make magic for her. To turn putting together a plastic pine tree into a thing of memories. To make a child's piece of jewelry into a Christmas decoration that she will have for the rest of her life. Luckily she won't remember riding home with a pine tree in her face, so maybe next year we'll wear heavier coats and remember the rope..