"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."
-- Calvin Coolidge
We just got home from the annual Christmas tree cutting ritual. I'm Catholic (or at least I used to be, I'm a bit of a lapsed Catholic these days but that's a story for another day) and we Catholics love our rituals. Our annual tree expedition goes something like this:
First hubby and I rally the troops. Now that the kids are 16 and 18, I seriously thought that they were going to mutiny this year and refuse to join us, but they complied (we bribed them by saying we'd take them out to lunch first) and so all 4 of us, plus Tucker the dog, piled into the car and away we went to our favorite "Cut Your Own" tree farm.
My son on one side and my daughter on the other, sawing from two sides to make it go more quickly
When we arrived, my son purposefully got out of the car saying, "OK, this year we are going to be extremely efficient," and headed over to get the saw and tree cart before heading on over to the bank of trees.
Just to clarify, usually this Christmas tree process involves a LOT of tree looking, assessing, hemming and hawing by all of us but mostly by my husband, who takes a laboriously long time to make ANY decision and in particular looks at hundreds of trees each year before he decides we've found just the absolutely perfect tree. It can take us a full hour of just looking for the right tree because of my husbands very high Christmas tree standards. And remember that once the perfect tree is chosen, it then has to be cut down which can take another 20 minutes or so, depending on the trunk of the tree.
AND IT WAS REALLY, REALLY COLD AND WINDY OUT THERE TODAY.
Hence my sons wish to be efficient. Because, since they're teenagers neither of them wore gloves or hats. And in case you think I'm a bad mother because I didn't bring gloves and hats for the kids with me, let me assure you that at this age, there isn't a single thing I can say that would encourage them to wear gloves, hats or often even coats. THEY KNOW EVERYTHING, THEY ARE TEENAGERS!
Lo and behold (I know, I thought I'd go all religious on you it being the Christmas season and all), the very first tree we saw as we started walking towards the bank of trees was the one above. A perfectly round, fat, full 7 foot fir, standing all alone in the middle of the field with no other trees within 20 feet. My son and daughter immediately said that this was The Tree, and I had to admit that it was really perfect; all fat and round and just the right height and a fir which is my favorite kind. But would it pass the muster of the infamous husband? Amazingly enough, he came over and after walking around it for a bit, agreed that it was indeed the perfect tree and so the kids got right down to cutting that sucker down.
Husband inspecting as the tree trunk is trimmed so that it fits into the tree stand base
Now what makes today so extra special for me, is that 3 years ago I had just recently had my mastectomy surgery and had also just started taking Tamoxifen which had put me into a very depressed mood for the first 6 weeks, and so I wandered around the day of our 2010 Christmas tree ritual in a Vicodin induced haze with little energy and even less Christmas cheer.
Today was such a vindication for me to be at the exact same spot 3 years later, feeling so good, so happy and so content. Another little victory.
The Christmas tree tying on top of the car portion of the ritual
The kids cut that baby down in no time flat, we had it bound up, the obligatory styrofoam cups of hot chocolate were had by all, Tucker ran around and begged for attention from everyone there and before we knew it the tree was ready to be tied to the top of the car and we were on our way home. Did I mention that it was really, really cold out there today?
The tree has officially landed in the living room
And now for the next part of the Christmas tree ritual which entails getting the tree acclimated to its new surroundings. We keep her well watered so that she can get all settled in and then later on (maybe tomorrow if we're all ambitious enough) we'll get the lights up and then put the ornaments on.
For me, now that the tree is in the house, the season is really here. Happy, happy, joy, joy.
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