It’s Christmas time. The house is decorated, but we still need a tree.
It is late Sunday afternoon and my first challenge is to wake my daughter, who has managed to fall asleep sitting up on the couch. I picked up her snoozing body, she nestles her head in my shoulder as I carry her out to the car. Ava bounces behind, excited and ready to get a tree.
We usually get our tree down the road at Honey Bear, mostly because they have nice trees but also because they donate a percentage to the school of your choice. Oh, and for some extra flourish, they throw in a free plastic bear full of honey. Who doesn’t love a plastic bear filled with honey?
We normally go earlier in the season, but due to bad weather, sickness, and the busy social calendars of both my 5 and 6 year olds, it is now mid-December. When we walked onto the lot, it was only about a third full. Mostly with trees over 10ft tall, which I have no room for.
With limited selection, we find one fairly quickly. A nice 7-8 footer. It’s majestic in its own unique way with full branches just begging for ornaments. Her dad gives Mia a branch, she tells us it’s our tree.
The kids run around, up and down the rows, both are still wearing make-up and sporting fancy hair do’s from a beauty salon birthday party earlier in the day. Just for the record, I don’t normally allow my girls to wear bright pink eye shadow.
Ava picks up tree trunk remnants from previously sold trees. She quickly strikes up a conversation with our tree guy. I see him talking to her about the tree rings and what they mean. I see them counting rings. She brings home two cut tree trunks.
When we are ready to leave, I wanted to document our tree gathering for the season and tried to get a photo of the girls together.
The first one is nice, so I say, “Hug each other!” Ava reaches out because she is six and can follow directions well, but Mia wants no part of it and screeches bloody murder. In the last photo, Mia just looks mad, while Ava grins about the whole thing.
Tree tied to the top of the car, we drive home. We drag the tree in the house and stand it up; it fits perfectly in the corner. Well it fits perfectly after I move the couch to the other side and drag two chairs next to it instead. I actually like the living room set up, it might just stay this way.
I wrap the lights around the tree and we do a little decorating. Kids love decorating trees. Certainly makes my job easier because when they were little, I had to do it all and I have A LOT of ornaments. Now, I have two enthusiastic decorators working for me, so decorating goes much faster even if they are mostly loading the bottom of the tree. The price one pays for having two people under four feet decorating a Christmas tree.
All the ornament boxes were spread out on the table. I open a box of ornament hooks for the girls to use if one was missing or needed to be replaced.
Some time later, Mia yells across the room, “Mommy, I NEED A HOOKER!”
I stare at her and wonder, will I be the only one who thinks this is funny?
I hand her a “hooker” and she hangs a glass dolphin into the tree.
This goes on for the rest of the evening and begins again in the morning. We mostly finish it by the next night, and now there are just a few left in one of the boxes.
Here is our tree. Sparkling. Sentimental. Filled with history and stories. Each ornament is a moment in time. I can probably tell you a story about any ornament on the tree. There ornaments from all the places I’ve traveled, baby feet imprints, handmade ones from my children, and of course, the ones my grandmother created. Many of my ornaments are as old or older than me. I’m sure that makes them heirlooms by now.
Boxes full of memories, loved and appreciated each holiday season.
For fun, I am including one more tree photo. I’m not sure how I captured the tree this way. I was using my tripod when I accidentally moved the zoom portion of my lens during a long exposure.
I call it “tree supernova.”
Oh, we have one of those creepy elves too. His name is Chippy. My children are obsessed with him. They are lucky I remember to move him each night. Occasionally, I throw in “Be nice or else reminders because I’m watching you and reporting your every move back to Santa.”
Mostly I hate him, I think he is going to come to life and go on a zombie rampage.
As a final note, the kittens appear to be disinterested in the tree. They simply sit in front of it and stare. I like to think they are enjoying the twinkle lights, but perhaps they are plotting with the creepy elf to take down the tree. Only time will tell.