Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas trees, Norman Rockwell and...Home Improvement stores!

I love Christmas trees. They smell so amazing. They light up a home. They encourage smiles, laughter and joy! I love them.

So, you'll understand that selecting our Christmas tree is a wonderful tradition that I look forward to every year! Wade and I have always had such fun in picking our tree -- from the early days of our marriage when we would drive home with the tree strapped to my little Chevrolet Sprint...looking forever like the weight of the tree would squish the car flat! To our first Christmas of parenthood, when we bundled three tiny babies and trekked down to the tree lot in our south Chicago neighborhood.

But the tree-hunts that stand out the most to date...would have to be when I attempted Norman Rockwell-like moments during our five Christmases in Minnesota and insisted we go out to a local tree farm to cut down our very own tree. You can picture it if you like: Wade carrying a super-bundled-up Mason, Mason's crutches, and the saw to cut the tree down; Me with a super-bundled-up Benjamin, Benjamin's walker, my camera, my tripod, and holding the hand of a super-bundled-up Claire. The tree farm was great...we loaded a horse-drawn sled (yes, you can picture it, right, Wade and I loading all the equipment, kiddos, and ourselves onto the sled.), held sweet little bunnies, and instructed the driver as to which area we wanted off...then unloaded all the above equipment and kids, found a tree, cut it down, attempted to capture the moment on camera before the kids froze to death and the sled returned for us. Then, we re-loaded the sled with all the aforementioned equipment and kids PLUS one big Christmas tree.

Every year, Wade and I would pretty much be done with the whole Christmas spirit-thing by the time we loaded the kids back in our minivan and secured the tree to the roof. We were wiped out. Exhausted. And always sorely lacking in that perfect photo that would have captured the whole experience! (Probably because everyone was suffering from frost-bite and could not smile for the life of them.)

So now you know why we really live in Arizona...Wade wanted to ensure he never had to do that again! No great as those memories (read with only a smidgen of sarcasm because the trio really do think those were just such great excursions)...we don't have a tree farm in close proximity. We have no snow and no need for super-bundles of coats, mittens, boots, etc (And we all said AMEN!), but we do still have need for a tree. So this weekend, we loaded the minivan with all four kiddos and one Uncle and took off to our favorite tree-selecting site....HOME DEPOT! There was no sled to get us from the parking lot to the trees in the back...but there were giggles aplenty, and so much fun! From exploring the new Christmas decorations, to trying out the Tiki benches for the garden, we had a blast. And without the frost-bite!

So here's to Norman Rockwell moments. May all of yours be as lovely as you can imagine! And here's to finding what works for MY family -- and thanking God that my kiddos had just as much fun with the tree process as ever.

And to the blessing of not being so exhausted when it was all over that I couldn't enjoy the decorating -- ah, now there is a blessing in deed!


Sarah Armstrong said...

I just love it! What powerful images of those Minnesota Christmas tree hunting trips!!

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Ah, I CAN picture it - every red nose, every frostbitten finger and toe, every snuffle and sniffle, every layer of clothing you muster placed upon your body so you can barely move AND a Christmas Tree. Hey...that was turning into a song...LOL! Have a Merry Christmas my dear pal. Hey...are you gonna turn your cactus into Santa Claus using cotton balls for the beard? I love Christmas in Arizona.