Growing up, some of my best memories are those of choosing our Christmas tree and decorating it.
I remember at least one time being in Northern California at my Grandparents' home for Thanksgiving and Dad chopping one down in the forest.
Dad would string the lights and my Mom, sister and I would decorate the tree.
It was always fun to unwrap every ornament and reminisce about it's story.
My sister and I were each given a special ornament from a very special couple every year.
This clown is the one I received on my first Christmas.
I do believe it now qualifies as an antique.
I remember hanging pots from the branches of a tree one year in order to get the limbs to hang properly.
As I ventured out on my own, I always had a real tree.
When hubby and I began dating, he surprised me one year in my apartment with a tree that was so wide it took up most of the living room.
Loved that tree!
When we were married an had children, we still had real trees.
About 10 years ago, I think, I got frustrated with the lights and the hectic, busy-ness of life at the same time Costco had a stunning, huge tree.
We broke down and bought it.
For the daughter of a forester, buying an artificial tree was hard.
But, not having to arrange the lights properly was wonderful!
I detest arranging lights.
Until last Christmas, having an artificial tree was okay.
I always got a super small, real one to quench my need for nature and the scent of the mountains.
But even THAT, made for an extra tree to decorate and lights to string.
AND, it dawned on me that while Shaggy and Lollipop Pop had spent their younger years choosing the perfect tree, Sugar Plum Fairy had not.
I decided then and there that we would have a real tree this year.
Shaggy was home from college.
Lollipop Pop was on a band trip.
There would be no perfect time to go.
We just went.
We made memories.
Shaggy even remembered certain lots he had visited when he was little.
We sniffed...we ran our hands through the branches.
(The "we" in haggling was hubby...we did teach our youngest not to drool or smile with joy over the perfect tree in front of the salesman)
We walked away...
I persuaded my hubby to make a fresh cut in the trunk...because that is what a Forester's daughter was taught.
We were reminded how heavy fresh trees are to carry through the house.
We were reminded that making a straight, fresh cut is not easy, but very important.
We were also reminded that trees in the lot appear MUCH smaller than they do in one's living room.
We were reminded that we had no lights and that the choices nowadays are wide and varied. Texting pictures from the store is helpful in making a decision.
We were reminded that we have to water the tree...daily.
We were reminded that needles are messy.
We were also reminded of the magical scent in our home and although Shaggy didn't complain, I think he and his allergies were happy to go back to college.
The memories and smiles that we made with our children FAR outweigh any of the negatives.