Sunday evening, Dec. 2, 2012 — It’s comin’ on Christmas

Like Joni sang:  “It’s comin’ on Christmas; they’re choppin’ down trees. . .”

The 2011 Larson Family Christmas tree
The 2011 Larson Family Christmas tree

We went out this morning to cut down the Larson family Christmas tree.  Gunlor Pines has been providing us with our tree for over 20 years.  And so it was with hot chocolate, blankets and many layers of winter clothes that we headed off kind of early this morning with visions of the perfect tree leading us on.

Alas, we got to Gunlor only to find out it was closed.  And then, double alas, we found out it had been sold!  My daughter-in-law managed to contact the former owners who kindly told her that the place was closed on Sundays, but we could call and make an appointment for the next weekend.  (Saturday only.)  While we were there another vehicle pulled up — that made 3 of us wanting trees.  So, Jenn contacted the new owners, but they weren’t interested in coming to open up.

I’m thinking their little tree farm venture isn’t going to last too long. Ah, but I digress.

The kids did an internet search and found out there is another tree farm about 2 hours south of Edmonton.  They considered going, but it was getting late.  Tim and I had tickets for the Vinyl Cafe Christmas show, so there was no way we could go.  We had sadly accepted the reality that there would be no freshly cut nine-footer this year.  (In truth, I wasn’t all that sad.  And while I’m talking truth I have to admit that I’d much rather have a multi-coloured pre-lit artificial tree that is only about 7 ft tall.  It would make my life much easier.)

And so it has been decided that next weekend it’s Gunlor on Saturday, or the new place on Sunday.  Whichever it is I probably won’t be going.  We’ve got family coming for the weekend so I’ve got cooking and entertaining to take care of.  However it plays out come next weekend we’ll have our tree.  I’ll play Joni Mitchell while we bring it in the house and then I’ll put on It’s a Wonderful Life while I shred my fingertips as I string the lights.

Though I wish I had a fake tree I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I do love the smell of a real tree, and, that once it’s up and decorated it truly is a special thing and something that helps get me in the Christmas spirit.  It takes me back to trees past and all the memories hung upon countless branches.

Every year I go to the fancy greenhouses and take in all the beautiful Christmas displays with the designer trees in all their fashionable colours.  There are blue trees, copper trees, pink trees, red trees and silver trees.  Black trees, gold trees, sparkly trees.  And, yes, even green trees.  Besides all the colours there are different shapes and sizes.  Two-footers through to 12 foot giants.  Fat, full branched ones and skinny, one-sided trees.  Trees that will fit in corners and trees that hang upside down.  (I don’t like the upside down trees, they look so odd!)

I always aspire to change my tree decorating habits; I envisage a glittering masterpiece of red and gold, feathers and velvet streamers.  Something worthy of gracing the pages of Martha Stewart Living or House & Home.  But, in the end I turn away from those glimmering decorations and turn to my boxes of treasured ornaments, the ones I’ve spent my lifetime collecting.  They’re what really makes me smile.  And as I hang each shiny bauble, each hand-crafted paper ornament that my son made, or each ornament collected on holiday I’m reminded that our tree is history of us.

When my grandkids come over I love to point out this one or that one and tell them a little story about how it came to be.  I’ve started adding the ones they make now and try not to think to far ahead into the future when perhaps I’ll be adding ornaments from great-grandchildren.

In the end, I suppose, it doesn’t matter whether the tree is real or fake.  What matters is what you make of it.


Monday, Brrr, December 7th

Here's our nice little tree for 2009!


It’s minus flippin’ thirty-seven (-37ºC) here in Bon Accord!  I do not, I repeat do not, want to set foot outside again until it is at least only -15.  That’s not asking too much is it?   

I will do my best to be grateful for this weather and try to remember that it will kill the pine beetle and save our forests.  Also, it looks pretty from inside while I’m bundled up with a coffee and a good book.   

Oh, yeah . . . we got our tree this weekend and it’s not a giant.  It’s a very nice 8 footer that will be easy for me to decorate.  We went out with Landon and Jenn and the kids this weekend to Gunlor Pines — a family tradition now for 18 years!  With all the snow we got on Friday it was really quite nice.  The kids seemed to have fun although being bundled up they could hardly move, it was cute to watch them stumble along.  Timothy just kept agreeing with everything we said — “you like this one, buddy?”  “yeah.”  “how about this one? is this one better?”  “yeah.”  I’m sure he was just wondering why on earth we were out there wandering through a bunch of trees that essentially all looked the same to him.  After Tim and Jenn ‘felled’ our trees we headed in for hot chocolate and candy canes.  The kids were enthralled by the inflatable Santa popping in and out of an inflatable chimney.  It was a very good day.   

And now we’re in a deep freeze.  Sigh. 

A happy bunch of lumberjacks!





Friday — yay!

This has been one long week!  Paradoxically, though, the month has flown by.  How does that work?  I’m starting to sweat about Christmas.  Don’t want to be that person, but. . .  Am I finally going to succumb to the lure of the pre-lit artificial Christmas tree?  Or will we stick with the Charlie Brown beauties we usually have?  I love a real tree, it’s just my husband insists on finding the biggest damn tree he can each year, and utterly destroying my house to get it inside.

This lovely family tradition invariably takes place on the coldest day of  winter and generally results in us not speaking to each other for another day or two, thus prolonging the deep-freeze.  Once the tree is in the house it takes hours for us to wrestle it into place.  Ropes are sometimes employed, along with the mother of all tree stands.  Lopping of branches and much shaking to dislodge as many dead needles, grasses, leaves and small rodents as possible then ensues.  Following this comes repeated vacuuming with Tim’s heavy-duty shop vac (this is kept handy for the entire Christmas season).  Then, the best part — I get to decorate it all by myself!!  Ladders, step-stools and chairs, oh my!

Much as I love the smell and atmosphere created by the transplanting of nature into my home, I’m just a tad weary of all the drama.  With Landon gone and raising his own family, all this fuss hardly seems worth it.  The kids will only see our tree

This one nearly caused a divorce.

once, maybe twice, and then there we’ll sit, with our backs to it.  Tim won’t have it lit while we’re watching television because the blinking lights reflected on the screen annoy him.  So I ask, what’s the point?

I know I’m sounding very hum-buggy, but seriously a pre-lit tree that I can just pop in and out of a box sounds like a jim-dandy idea to me.  Plus, if I try really, really hard I can convince myself that I’m doing a good thing by not cutting down a tree, depleting our supply of oxygen and contributing to the size of the hole in the ozone layer.  If I start feeling all nostalgic and begin longing for the warm fuzzies associated with Christmas trees past all I have to do is go buy some pine-scented candles or room spray.

Ho, Ho, Ho!