|Replacement trees that will grow for years to come.|
I do remember as a kid being dragged from lot to lot trying to find a reasonably priced tree (was Mom looking for a bargain?) the week of Christmas. I remember thinking, "why do we have to go out on THE COLDEST day of the year and get a tree at the last minute, when all the lots are cleared out of good trees???" Maybe it was because money was tight and we lived paycheck to paycheck. Whatever, it was not the romantic tree hunting expedition I saw on television or read about in books. (Thinking Little House on the Prairie here).
Why we decorated on Christmas Eve I never knew, today I cannot even imagine squeezing that in to our routine.
|One Grandma and one grandson ready to go!|
|The one for us.|
|They all look good, but only one can be THE ONE!|
|Dad gives a lesson in saws.|
|Let the cutting begin!|
That is until years later, when I took my own grandson and went on the hunt for a tree. After many years of scoping out different farms and comparing prices, I settled on a nice farm on the Ulster/Greene county line. I loved the idea that these folks were common folks just trying to make a little extra money. (Greene county is one of the poorest in our state.) I also loved the idea that NY city dwellers hadn't "discovered" this hideaway and ruined its pureness. I also loved the "green" idea of always replanting new trees for subsequent years. It was a bit more expensive than buying a precut tree, but it lasted so much longer and made it worth the price.
So one year, I took my son and his son to the farm to search, cut and load up the perfect Christmas tree. They were staying at the Jollies (Jess' parents) so we met at the farm. On our drives to the farm it started to snow. PERFECT! When we arrived, because it was early we were the only ones on the lot - PERFECT! Bryan took the camera and started shooting. Eventually we picked a tree and as he cut, I shot the photos. The tree was beautiful. A memory was made. The romantic tape in my head was almost completely realized. (A roaring fire and hot chocolate with the rest of the family would have made it perfect.)
Nowadays, its mostly just Jim and I that head to the farm to pick and cut a tree. It's not quite the same without the kids, but it gives me a sliver of nostalgia that I would like to hold on to. We don't have the Christmas music on the CD in the truck as we head out, because we are usually reminiscing about the "old days" and when we get home it's Chai Tea Latte instead of Hot Chocolate. No, we are not stuffy, elitists -- we just like Chai better than the chocolaty stuff. If the kids ever join us again they will have a choice!
Oh, and for those that get their shorts in a tizzy about what a tree represents, get over it. We look to the tree (especially a living tree) to draw us closer to the Light of the World. It still is the one time of year, when most of the world is at least thinking about the Christ child and may ask the question, "What child is this?" and the gospel message goes out once again. Yes, I too hope we look beyond the trees, the gifts and the food to see the Truth of the Christmas holiday...that unto us a child is born, and he shall be called the The King of Kings! See Luke 2:1-20 in the Bible (yes, it's probably that dust covered book buried in your bookcase somewhere. If you don't have one, contact me and I'll see about getting you one for free.)