December 20, 2011

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Our giant Christmas tree has taken its place of honor in our living room. Unadorned as of yet, it towers to the cathedral ceiling in all its majesty.

The adventure begins with a trip to a nearby Christmas tree farm. We always have to scout out the biggest trees, as the boys will settle for nothing less than 13’.  I would prefer a nice 10’ fir, but we chose a 14’ pine that requires a chain saw to bring it down.

The farmer brings around a tractor and flat bed trailer to haul it for us. Amazingly, the 200 pound tree is lifted into the “shaker” and we extract handfuls of dried pine needles as more shake to the ground. We thought we’d try to bale it this year, but there was no way this tree was going through that small funnel.  It will be another year of push and pull to get the tree inside.

Last year, my husband took the sliding glass doors completely off their tracks, and the tree was easily brought in. This year the boughs weren’t frozen, so the task was to open the double front doors and force it up the stairwell. What a mess!

Fighting gravity to set the trunk in the cast iron stand takes great strength. Getting the trunk centered when it nearly fills the stand is almost impossible. Working with nature and a trunk that grew at an angle (why didn’t we see this at the farm?) we finally get the tree to stand on its own.

Sweeping needles and pine bark off the floor, I shake my head and wonder why we do this every year. I think this is the tallest tree ever, but my youngest argues that indeed there was one taller. We will need the extension ladder and step ladder to decorate our masterpiece, and the process takes days. Once completed, I am reaffirmed of the reason for all this work. It is a sight to behold!

Already the scent of pine is heady, and the tree drinks more than a gallon of water a day. The freshness and aroma of pine fills the house. No need for pine scented candles here!

The boxes and bins of treasured family ornaments are brought out, and everyone helps to turn this massive evergreen into our family’s Christmas tree. It is a labor of love, with over a thousand lights and hundreds of ornaments. My favorite time is late at night, when I turn off all the other house lights, and bask in the glow of the colorful mini-lights.

Finding my favorites, I look at my babies’ first Christmas pictures on their ornaments. I treasure the hand made ornaments, and remember my early Christmas birthdays with my Rudolph ornament from a year when my age was in the single digits. I have all of my family’s ornaments from growing up, as well as all of the ones we’ve added over the years. There are memories in each one, and I cherish the tradition as each ornament gets its place of honor on the tree.

There is comfort in tradition, and every year we are sure this year’s tree is the most beautiful ever. Enjoy the blessings of the season, and share your joy with those less fortunate. Celebrate the One who came so that we might have life. Cherish your loved ones and enjoy this particular season of life. It is ever changing, and we hold onto our traditions for continuity through the years. Christmas Blessings to you all!

Look out! Timberrr!

Enjoy these photos from a couple of years ago. I forgot to bring my camera this year! I say this because the tree in the photos is obviously a spruce and not a pine. (It's the horticulturist in me).

Do you think this will fit in our living room?
On its way to our home...

Decorated in all its Christmas glory!

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