At one time, my Grandparents V. had a Christmas tree farm. And, when my Dad was younger, he and my Uncle sometimes drove trucks full of trees for another farmer. I'm not sure of the logistics of these stories, but I know Dad tells some interesting tales about his brief stint trucking...and I know that for many years, my family would traipse in the woods behind my Grandparents' house in search of a Christmas tree from the stragglers left behind after the switch to a more fruitful form of farming: blueberries.
Looking for the tree was an adventure, with snowflakes and chilly temperatures adding a certain charm...and discomfort...to our task. I loved trudging through the snow, and I liked watching my dad, and later, my brother, run the saw through the tree trunk. As my feminist consciousness grew, I wonder why I couldn't help with the cutting...until I tried and readily relinquished that task. Mom and I scouted and commented on tree shape.
After college, when I lived in a series of apartments, I would waver on a tree. It seemed a waste to buy and decorate a tree for a short period of time, as I always spent several weeks back at my parents' house at the holidays. Trees were sporadic. When I moved back to Michigan after grad school, I would trudge through the now sparsely tree-d fields and find a small tree for my apartment. I decked it with my growing collection of keepsake ornaments from my Grandma C.
In all of these years, I've never had a taller-than-me full size tree.
Until this year.
Our new living space and higher ceilings, our expanded collection of ornaments (what perfect shower and wedding gifts!) demanded a bigger tree. G and I headed to our favorite tree lot, a family owned business at a local coffee and ice cream shop, where we've purchased the cutest small trees the past few years. This year, we measured our designated tree nook ahead of time, and then unfurled the tape measure in the tree lot. We selected a tall, slender-ish balsam tree on a damp, grey December 1st. We tucked her into the corner of the dining room, where her lights will be seen from outside, and where she will stand at the center of our home.
Tonight, we gilded her with our ornaments, and dressed her with the skirt Grandma V. made for my bridal shower gift. The stockings I made are hung on the Hoosier cabinet, and memories are everywhere. Each ornament tells a story, represents a moment in time, a friendship, a family connection, a craft project.
Welcome to our home, tree. We're so glad to share these weeks of love, laughter, stress, baking, shivering, planning, tears, and singing with you.