For this final installment in the Family Stories series, I thought I would share one of my own family stories!
For many of my growing up years, we lived in a place where we could travel up into the mountains to cut our own Christmas tree. The day was much anticipated every year! We would take stock of gloves, hats, and mittens. Dad would gather saw and rope, and Mom would make up thermoses of hot cocoa and coffee and a lunch of sandwiches (in bags with our initials on them.)
As we drove, we would talk about which one of us might find “THE” tree this year. It had to be perfect, you know. Full from all angles, except one, which would be the side that sat against the wall at home. Dark green. Branches evenly aligned. Straight top, just right for our crocheted angel to sit upon. Perfect triangular shape.
It would often take us much of the day to find it. Remember, we were not at a Christmas tree farm or lot! We were usually in a National Forest area where tree cutting was permitted during the holiday season. Trees growing in their natural environment are not groomed, trimmed, and shaped. We had our work cut out for us! Often tromping through knee-deep snow, we would look and play, eat and search. There would usually be some form of a snowball fight.
(That’s me in the middle. My sister Lori is on the left, and my mom on the right–very pregnant with my little sister. Look at the date! 30 years ago today!)
Most years, we would narrow the possibilities down to a couple of trees and then argue over why we each thought our favorite should be “the one.” It was serious business! When we finally decided on one, Dad would use the saw to cut it down and then we would all help carry it to the car. At times, that was quite a hike back! We would get it tied to the top of the car, settle ourselves back in, and head home. Usually, I would be the one worrying, the whole way home, that the tree was going to fly off the top! It never did.
Once home, Dad would saw a small piece off the bottom and stand the tree in a bucket in the garage to dry off before bringing it in the house.
Just knowing it was sitting out there, waiting to come in to be decorated, was a source of delicious anticipation of all that the Christmas season would bring.