Friday, December 14, 2018

Day 14. O Christmas Tree


"... freshly cut Christmas trees smelling
of stars and snow and pine resin -- inhale deeply
and fill your soul with wintry night ...”

~ John Geddes, A Familiar Rain 

I felt a sense of adventure when I woke early this morning. Hubby and I are going to get our Christmas tree this afternoon. Because we live in the city, if we're getting a real tree for Christmas, we usually buy one from the temporary tree lots or grocers. But Hubby declared he wanted a tree that was really fresh, that hadn't been cut two months ago -- he wanted the true fresh fragrance wafting through the house like when he was a kid. I was secretly thrilled. Me too! Can almost smell it -- all earthy, piney, and oh so pungent with its sap fresh and sticky.

We'll head out into the countryside to a local family-owned tree farm where they offer landscaping trees in summer and u-cut evergreens in December. I think Rick is excited about bringing along his saw for this somewhat woodsy adventure. I wish we had a couple of those red lumberjack shirts for photo-ops -- you bet, I'm not leaving home without my camera.


Just thinking about it makes so many childhood memories float up. I can remember coming home from school, just days before Christmas, to find the freshly hewed spruce tree propped near the back step. Oh goody, Dad had been out. There it sat waiting, just like us, for the big day. If we weren't already antsy with excitement, well, it just made the anticipation soar off the charts. We begged Mom to let us bring it in. But she always wanted to wait as long as possible, to keep the needles fresh. I could hardly stand it for joy -- it felt like the top of my head would blow off.

"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.
In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.

~ Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas

It's true, when you are five or six or seven, every tree seems thirty feet tall, but in truth, looking at some old family photos, our trees weren't those towering specimens at all. All green and prickly, smelling of pungent spruce resin -- I didn't like how my fingers stuck together when drops got on my hands -- they were sometimes a little scraggly, somewhat sparse on branches, even a bit crooked, but in our eyes they were practically perfect.

The day finally arrived, usually December 20th or 21st, when Mom would give the okay. Dad would drag the frozen tree into the porch where it thawed out, the snow on its branches melting into puddles on the floor. Which meant that the next day when we got home from school, it would be proudly sitting in its wooden stand. A prince of a tree in its honoured place in the corner of the living room, where Dad had secured it with clear fishing line to the door jam -- cats and kids being prone to examining tree branches rather closely.

"You can tell a lot about a person by the way
they handle three things: a rainy day, lost luggage,
and tangled Christmas tree lights.

~ Maya Angelou


When we were old enough, we kids would haul down the decoration boxes from the upstairs crawl space. First, there came the task of untangling tree lights -- not a job for the kids, thankfully. I felt too impatient for that slow process. It was the pretty ornaments nestled in their boxes with the cellophane windows in the lids that I waited for.

Chains made from coloured construction paper and tinsel garlands were added. Placing the ornaments was a very studied business as we pondered which branch they should go on for the best effect. Delicate glass balls would hang alongside the proud display of glittering handmade Christmas cards done in school art class. The very last thing to go up was the tinsel, we being firmly instructed not to throw clumps of tinsel on the branches, but to carefully drape it strand by strand until the tree became a glimmering tower of awesomeness.

At last came the moment when the overhead lights were turned off, a record would be set to spin out carols, and we'd all stand back in awe of our handiwork. It was beautiful, all lit up and sparkling. And with that, we were ready for Christmas. Life couldn't feel any more perfect than in that moment. With so much to still look forward to and so few cares of the world intruding on our little family, at least for a few days, we felt safe and happy as we snuggled against the storms of winter and life.

Here's a YouTube link to

by Classical vocal ensemble VOCES8

circa 1964, Little Sis and Me

* * *

It's getting closer. The anticipation is rising.
Here's wishing you a beautiful day.


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  1. Those were the days! Wonderful memories.

  2. Oh,I can feel the excitement in your words. I did not grow up having a Christmas tree at all.It wasn't until I got married that we had one, always artificial,but I still love it.

  3. Lovely memories Brenda. There is something so special about choosing your own tree.

  4. How is the tree, Brenda? I'm excited for you! That must have been great fun to go and chop one down. I love your posts. You write from your heart. Always nice to dredge up pleasant, happy memories, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by. Susan

    1. And I find Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year to let those happy memories float up. I have so many that still make me tingle inside.

      I never want to take for granted my happy memories, I know that everyone doesn't have such experiences and I am sad for that.

      Thanks, Susan, for sharing! xox

  5. Some of your tree trimming memories are echoed in my own! I am smelling the fresh tree and feeling the sticky resin. I am seeing the tinsel and the ornament boxes with their cellophane windows. You have set a lovely scene for reminiscing!

    Hope your tree-selecting, tree-trimming experience today has been delightful as well!

    1. It's so much fun to share memories that glide into each other. Recognizing and feeling that common human experience is so powerful -- I think it helps us feel that we, too, belong. xox

  6. Oh I love the beautiful descriptions! You can take me back to childhood so quickly. However, I know for a fact, that there are two kids who judge me based on the size of my tree. Perhaps they are exceptions to the rule. ☺️ Love the photo of you and your sister in your green velvet dresses. Wonderful! Hope that you have had a fantastic experience at the Christmas Tree Farm...

    1. There's a good example of why we should refrain from using the words 'always' or 'never'... there is usually something or someone that turns up to prove otherwise. We enjoyed our outing to the Tree Farm. Very pleasant.

  7. So exciting, Brenda. I felt like I was tagging along with you and your hubby. I do hope you will take lots of photos of the cutting and decorating. I know your tree will be wonderful. I made peanut butter cookies, not near as exciting as getting a tree, but still fun. Happy weekend to you and your hubby. Time is moving along.

    1. We had a lovely drive out into the countryside. Winter on the prairies with fields covered in snow and the sun so low on the horizon is one of my favourites things to see. Our tree is sitting at present in a large pail drinking in water (they recommend about a gallon those first couple of days). Waiting, waiting ... like we are. I think tomorrow will be decorating day. Thank you Sandra for dropping by for a wee visit. xox

  8. There is a Christmas tree farm 20 minutes away from me that's called "Merry Farms." Yes, "Merry" is the last name of the family who operates the business.

  9. Our tree now is all decorated, we just set it up and uncover it, plug it in and it's ready!

  10. I've not yet experienced lost luggage but I know how to thoroughly enjoy a rainy day. I remember my father untangling Christmas tree lights, very quietly and outwardly patient but now I wonder if he was quiet on the inside because I hate that job. Hate it so much that my lights are never tangled because I am a perfectionist at packing them away.

    And each of the Christmases that I can remember as a child, the prettiest tree came home to our house. Because my father bought Christmas trees for the middle TN Kroger stores and when I was a teenager opened up his own garden center where he sold trees. He always tried to find a tree still with little pine cones on it and once there was a letter wrapped in wax paper from a Canadian girl whose father owned the tree farm. That was so exciting!


To My Beautiful Readers,

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