One of the fondest memories I have of Christmas growing up and a tradition I have kept alive with my own children and now grandson is the annual trek to the woods to pick the perfect Christmas tree.
Preparations are made which include lots of hot chocolate, Jackets, extra warm socks and gloves, sandwiches and of course the holiday cookies. Another ingredient which is paramount to finding the perfect tree is Christmas snow which is the magical snow only found in the month of December. Early on a Saturday morning, about 2 weeks before Christmas, we form a caravan of trucks and cars to accommodate all family members and make the drive out to where tree cutting is allowed and start looking for the perfect tree.
In our family the perfect tree has to meet a certain criteria and of course Mama always has the final say on the perfect tree. Finding the perfect tree always took all day, and Mama had to examine each and every branch often in waist deep snow and always making at least 6 complete 360's around the proposed tree. Usually the perfect tree was never found until we had run out of hot chocolate, all the sandwiches and cookies were eaten and we had more then our fill of sled rides. Then low and behold we often came back to the first tree we had looked at and that was the one Mama would select.
One Christmas we even found our Christmas tree by spotlight. When I was younger I could never understand why Mama passed up so many beautiful trees before settling on that one tree that would be the family Christmas tree. I never quite understood the criteria the tree had to meet until I had children of my own. Then one day it dawned on me like being hit in the head with a brick. The perfect family Christmas tree had nothing to do with how the tree actually looked. It had to do with the love our family shares, the time we spend together and no matter how busy our lives everyone putting aside that Saturday 2 weeks before Christmas to devote to our family outing, where we sing Christmas carols, have snowball fights, sled rides and Celebrate the meaning of Christmas, love and family.
Merry Christmas to you all and May you find that perfect tree.
(reprinted from 2006)
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