Thursday, December 6, 2007

O Christmas Tree

It has taken us six years, but Cale and I have finally found a way to get our Christmas tree without any major trauma- emotional or physical. When we got married I quickly learned that we were now a family who goes to get our tree. We didn't have one tucked away in the attic ready to assemble, ours was waiting out in a cold, muddy field somewhere. There was something dramatic and endearing to me in this new tradition and I got right into the spirit. It was my idea to make our own popcorn garland to accompany our fresh cut tree. How quaint and old-fashioned, but in the best possible way.

We continued our traditions for the next few years, child-free and with time to spare. We had some cute, festive trees grace all the apartments we lived in. One Christmas spent in Namibia found us with a 3 foot tall artificial tree covered in fruit ornaments (we did the best we could with limited resources.) Our next Christmas was the first in our house and I was pregnant. We remember that year with a laugh, but it was total drama! We got lost trying to find the tree farm, I had to pee (big shocker!), and it was dark by the time we got there. I was so mad at Cale for "ruining" our last Christmas of just the two of us- because, you know, Christmas was completely ruined because it was early December and I didn't like not being able to pee at will and we weren't going to be able to see the trees and I kept getting stuck in the mud. Isn't that a pretty holiday picture. An angry, very pregnant woman yelling at her husband out in the field to come yank her out because her boots were stuck in the mud again. Warms your heart right up, doesn't it??!!

We hadn't even gotten the tree home and I had already lost my will to decorate it. I did manage to push through but then there came the task of making the popcorn garland. I don't know if you've ever made this before, but it is slow going. I truly do love the end results, but it can literally be painful getting there. I gave up pretty early on and my sweet, understanding husband came through for us. We sat watching a movie, me crying on the couch, while Cale was the garland hero. It made me happy though, to see the end results.

Even though I wasn't a complete hormonal mess this past Christmas, we had a whole new set of challenges with a 10 month old on the loose. We still didn't make it to the tree farm before dark, but it was well-lit and we found what we thought was the perfect tree. And it was pretty wonderful, but it was GIGANTIC! We had to remove large amounts of our living room furniture to get it in the room. We sat watching Lord of the Rings while we made our garland and I was ready to throw in the towel on our tradition. I just wanted to be done with the tree and sit and enjoy it. But it's hard to stop once you start. We pushed through even as we realized that a big tree means lots more popcorn!

This year I got smart. I knew we were going to get our tree on Tuesday so on Sunday I had a brilliant idea. Let's start making our popcorn garland ahead of time! This probably seems silly to you, but I can't tell you what a difference it made. We worked away while we watched the Steelers demolish the Bengals and I got so much done. I realized it was all about the anticipation. I was excited to get the tree and to make it look lovely and not already worn out from wrestling one home, fighting to get it straight in the stand and then untangling all the ornaments so we could get them on the tree. We got to the tree farm while it was still light. The perfect Douglas Fir was there waiting for us. The price was great and the people friendly. We got the tree settled in the stand without too much trouble and that's when another great thing happened. We got one of these last year after Christmas and it is a great invention. All our ornaments were safely packed away in one box and freed up tons of space in our closet. I love this box! It was so much fun to unwrap the ornaments that truly are a reflection of our life and remember when and where they were gotten. We had a great time trimming the trim together and Haven loved every minute of it. She was allowed to help hang many of the ornaments and she thought that was the greatest thing ever.

Six years later, one happy family and one pretty tree...we finally figured it out!

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