Whether you decorate with a specific color scheme, use garland and tinsle, or put an angel, star, or santa hat on top retrieving and decorating Christmas trees is a tradition everyone does in slightly different ways. For some it is time to get out the artificial tree and assemble others will go cut their own down. Last year for our first married Christmas Luke and I talked through what OUR family Christmas tree would look like.
I grew up going with my family to pick out a Christmas tree at a local grocery store lot. ( I had no other options living in L.A.). We would come home, string white twinkle lights and a garland of wooden red cranberries on the tree. Then we would get a change to open our new ornament for the year. We would place our heirloom ornaments, including ones my parents collected over the year, on the tree while we listened to our favorite Christmas CD’s, and drank hot cocoa. Topping it all, we placed a gold and red metal angel holding a trumpet to her lips on the very top of the tree.
Luke grew up with a slightly different tradition. His parents for several years owned a ran a Christmas farm in Oregon raising Douglas Firs and Nobles for sell. So his family always buys local Douglas Firs usually going to cut them down themselves. His family, like mine, kept home crafted ornaments made by their children, gifts from family member’s travels, and old fashioned brightly colored blubs. They used silver tinsel and the large colored lights to decorate their tree. When I went to visit for New Years in 2011 their tall Christmas tree was placed right in the front window of their home.
So last year, being new to the area, we went to a lot near our home to buy a tree. The tree was a little expensive for it’s awkward shape. We decided to use LED colored large bulb lights similar to what Luke grew up with but no tinsel or garland. My parents had given me all my Christmas ornaments collected over the years back in October when we had moved, Luke had his mailed out to us along with his manger scene from his parent’s home. To brighten the tree up we placed candy canes and paper snowflakes to fill in the empty spots.
Last year we also made ornaments for ourselves at Sparkle (see Sparkle) to place on the tree. We struggled to find a good metal angel to place on top, like the one I grew up with, so we settled on a metal star until we found an angel we liked.
This year after asking around we drove out to Emerald Evergreen Tree farm which is only fifteen minutes south of our home. We came dressed in snow gear and parked behind the barn, taking a map of the area we grabbed a tree cutting saw and went on a winter wonderland walk through the evergreens. It snowed about four to five inches this past weekend so all the trees had a pretty coat of white on them.
I was grateful for my snow boots as we trudged towards the Douglas Firs. We shook a few trees off from snow to see if they were too yellow, too short, too full at the bottom, or too thin at the top. Then I saw one in the clearing near the train tracks. When we cleared it from snow I knew: this was our tree. Luke did most of the cutting but he insisted that I give it a try too.
Once we got the tree down we carried it back to the barn following the car routes. Halfway there a man waiting for his family to pick out a tree picked us up in his truck and drove us and our tree the rest of the way to the pay center.
We got the tree up on the car in a short time and tied it on. Luke went and paid for the tree coming back with hot cocoa. The cost: about the same as last year but this time with a much better tree and experience! When we got home we had to cut off a few extra branches and level out the bottom from the original cut we made then placed it in the stand.
This year we decided to place the tree in our front room so it can be seen from the street.
The greatest surprise for this year though is that my parents will be bringing the metal Angel tree topper I grew up with to hand it down to us!! When my mom asked if we would like it I was elated!! I could find nothing like it anywhere online or in stores and am grateful my parents are willing to let it go because we are beyond excited to have it! Until then we will keep the star on top.
So how does your family pick out and trim that perfect tree?