Dec 3, 2012

Getting The Christmas Tree

Every year when Christmas tree time rolls around I find my mind dragging up all kinds of Christmas tree memories....

  The Baird's driving to a "cut your own" Christmas tree place in Indiana and Madeline throwing a bona fide fit the entire way about having to listen to Christmas music.

  The Baird's managing to bring home the most crooked tree on the cut your own tree lot in Kansas.

 There was the year The Baird's got the tree home, in the house, up, and out flew the most beautiful butterfly.

 There is the The Baird husband always saying that I get to choose the tree yet making a comment about the state of  every single one I choose.

 There are the seven kids who all like a different tree at the cut your own place and they are all calling to you from all over the land wanting you to choose their tree.

Can you see the happiness? :)
 There is the one Baird child who happens to be in the phase where they think it is abuse to have to go with the family to choose a Christmas tree.....this year it was the Joe :)

 There is memories of me finally getting over the need to have a perfect tree.

 There is memories of me furtively hiding the ornament from school that was covered with popcorn seeds spray painted green that never stayed on the ornament.

There is the year the Baird husband dragged the top of the tree along the ceiling leaving some memorable tree marks.

There is memories of Miriam who makes the other kids hold hands and dance around the chosen tree.

There is me moving the ornaments around after they all go to school and then conveniently not remembering if I did if they ask if I did.

The first year we lived in Princeton, New Jersey we did not get a tree because we did not have enough money. I bought some greenery that year that I put on the mantle above the fireplace and that was our nod to the Christmas tree tradition that year.

The first year we lived in Massachusetts we also ended up not having a tree. You see we moved here in December and by the time I got kids enrolled in schools, figured out where stores even were, gave everything I had to the emotional support of my kiddos who took the move way too hard, I simply had no emotional energy left to find a cut your own Christmas Tree place and figure out what box in the freezing cold garage the Christmas ornaments were even packed in.

Every year in Massachusetts since that first Christmas we drive about 25 minutes up into the Berkshires to a little place called Balsam Acres in Blandford, Massachusetts. I can not even remember how I found out about this place. But it is a quiet unassuming place and I love it. No hot chocolate. No rides. No lines of people. No candles for sale. No Christmas lights. Just a small A Frame office and  acres of Christmas trees. Rows and rows of them. The rules for getting the Christmas tree happen to be that we have to get the tree before my Annual Ornament exchange but not before the calendar says December. So that leaves us a very small unrealistic window of time to get all of our schedules in sync so we can get the tree. This year it was Saturday and the first of December which made my," longing for perfection" little brain ever so happy. And then to push that aforementioned perfection brain just over the edge we woke up to snow. I do not remember ever procuring the Christmas tree in the snow before. This was so beyond cool.

When we finally choose the tree the hubby saws it down and then we cram it into our fifteen passenger  van. This year the tree was the best smelling one we have ever had. And I think it was also the biggest tree we have ever had.

Once we get the tree home and decorated I always find myself painfully aware that my Christmas tree is not "matchy matchy." No theme. No symmetry. No ooohhs and ahhhs from anyone who views its quaint homey-ness. This year as Miriam was helping me put on the lights she was trying to make me feel better as she declared emphatically how she likes all the different kinds of ornaments we have and what they remind her of and how she likes seeing something different every time she looks at the tree. I am not sure if I agree with her but her comments did give me some consolation that hopefully no one in this family will have to have therapy due to the non matching Christmas tree at our house

We have an extremely rag tag assortment of ornaments that make their way onto the tree each year. Since collecting Playmobil is our "thing" we have a set of Playmobil ornaments that someone gave to us in Kansas that the kids fight over putting on the tree every year. There is my Santa that I made out of a blown out egg and red and white hole punched dots glued all over it.There is the Washington State Ferry ornament that I bought a Pikes Place Market with a dear friend. There is the cardboard mitten from Brother and Sister Stoker who taught one of my kids in church. There is a Santa riding in his sleigh attached to eight small reindeer that my sister Rebecca bought for me years ago in Provo. Miriam, the twenty year old, was thrilled to finally get a chance to hang that Santa/sleigh ornament this year since the sister who usually commandeers it is on her mission in El Salvador. There are the wooden soldiers that I keep trying to get rid of but they keep multiplying every year. There is no rhyme or reason to my ornament collection and I confess I am not totally comfortable with that.

 I know some people have two trees. A kid tree and a grown up tree. We pay $40.00 a year for our tree we cut ourselves so I do not see being a two tree family anywhere in our future. I am a bad mom and I have not collected an ornament for each of the Baird kids for each year of their little lives so the kid ornaments are the ones made at school with oodles of glue, pasta, and their picture prominently displayed. I am sending them out into the world with enough baggage as it is without adding a huge box or ornaments. Yes, this is where you call me cold and heartless :) I mean can you do the Math on 7 kids... times what...eighteen Christmases?.... times one ornament each year? Yeah, I never even tried. They can get their own ornaments when they get married :)