The Christmas season is here and one of our traditions is to get our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Growing up in Oregon, my family always made a trip up in the mountains to choose and chop our own tree. I have many memories of bundling up, sitting in the backseat with my siblings and singing along to music on 8-Tracks. Christmas songs, John Denver, a little Earth Wind & Fire and Linda Ronstadt to name a few favorites.
We would tromp through the inevitable mountain snow, searching for the perfect tree. Our seventies winter clothes lacking decent water-proofing, we would quickly become cold and Mom would shoo us back to the car/truck to drink thermos-held hot cocoa out of styrofoam cups. Then we'd haul the tree home and set to decorating it!
Through the years, my husband and I have bought our trees. While in Oregon, we never paid more than $15-$20 for a nice Fir. Moving to other states, I was shocked to see ticket prices for an average tree up in the $70 range. We thriftily found the cheapest we could and, a few years later, bought an artificial tree. That, my friends, was lowering my standards.
I couldn't fathom not having a real tree filling my home with its fresh scent.
Fast forward a few years: Donated the artificial tree, went back to the real thing.
Then moved to Colorado and gulped at the prices again.
This year, I told my husband we couldn't possibly justify spending so much on a tree when it could be spent instead on gifts or family activities. We decided to scout our own tree-filled property for something that would work. There were several patches that needed thinned out anyway.
So one morning we set out, located a Pine tree that was growing too close to others and chopped it down.
Pine trees are a different breed of Christmas tree to be sure, but a few times as a kid we had one and they are special in their own way. My children have only known Fir and complained that decorating it was not the same. I told them it was rustic and real; like having a Ponderosa Pine growing indoors.
We calculated the tree's age and found that it was 9 years old- the same age as our youngest daughter. That gave them some food for thought- all those years growing to be cut down for our Christmas enjoyment. We did feel good that if the tree needed to be cut for others to grow, at least it was cut in honor of Christ.
We even cut rounds off of the excess trunk, bored holes into them and hung them by ribbons on the tree. I also cut round orange slices and hung them as well. They smelled amazing with the fresh tree!
Here it is with its initial rustic finery; before earnest decorating commenced:
A little Charlie Brownesque, but very in tune with the Christmas season!