Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oh, Christmas tree

It occurred to me while Jerry and I were out selecting our Christmas tree this year that not everyone gets the thrill of going to a tree farm, walking miles through fields with a handsaw and a selective eye while snow crunches underfoot.

Ever since I was a little girl, I enjoyed cutting down our own tree. For a time, it was in my own backyard. My dad would go into the woods behind our house and come back with a gigantic spruce that barely fit under our vaulted ceiling. Even an entire store of ornaments wouldn't have covered a tree that size, so we just focused on the bottom and the section we could reach from the nearby stairs.

One year, my brother and I made what seemed like miles of colorful paper chain and draped it by tossing it up into the air as hard as we could. Wherever it landed, it stayed.

After we sold that house, we started going to actual tree farms -- all of them so large that the business owners offered horse-drawn carriage rides and a map to get you to the type of needle you desired. It was always agony getting it back to the car because I never allowed the family to settle on a nearby tree, preferring instead to venture deep into the woods. For me, the journey was the most exciting part.

I was afraid the tradition wouldn't be the same when I moved to Pennsylvania. Little did I know there is a wonderful tree farm very similar to the ones I visited in my youth close to our new home. It even has reindeer and a barn gift shop heated by an old iron wood-burning stove.

This year, the day we decided to go was perfect. It was a cold mid-week afternoon, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. There were a dozen or so cars, but the place is so sprawling, we never passed anyone. We did see a beagle, presumably a farm dog, that followed us almost the entire time, but it kept just enough distance to run if we stopped and turned around in hopes of petting it.

After we ventured so far that we could no longer see our car or the baling station, we found the perfect Douglas fir. As I dusted snow off the branches and leaned into the trunk to give it some pressure, Jerry began sawing underneath. It was quiet other than the rythmic friction of the metal on wood, and I couldn't help but breathe in my surroundings -- the cold air, the scent of pine, the gorgeous sprawling mountains in the distance.

Then it hit me.

I can't wait to pass on the tradition to Allison next year.

Jerry next to our tree.

Snow-draped needles.

Sawing the base.

Rows and rows of pine.

Later that night, Jerry summoned his inner troll doll.
And, believe it or not, it was just from friction, not sap.


Caryn said...

I'm glad you didn't almost break your nose again this year. haha.

I can't wait to move into a house so I can start using a real christmas tree. I bet it smells wonderful.

Is it true that the fallen pine needles can be found sticking out of the bottom of your feet throughout the year though?

xanga.com/kristinmckenna said...

I've always wanted to do that but have never had the opportunity. Looks like fun.

gorakagaz said...

omg, he really does look like a troll doll! haha, i remember when we used to put those on our pencils in elementary school =]

Emilee said...

We finally got a real tree this year after having a fake tree for almost seven years, and I LOVE it! Our house smells like Christmas now. And the needles actually feel real instead of plastic-y. I can't wait to see pictures of Alli's first Christmas! :]

Anonymous said...

another lovely tale, but firs or spruce, never pines.. and certainly not those in the beautiful pic. I really love reading your blog though!

Erica said...

LOL he looks wonderful. Your tree is beautiful :]

Anonymous said...

wow! sweet tree!

Kristin said...

Jerry is such a dweeb. And ohhh myyy gaawwwddd.
I just read Caryn's post, and I sooo remember that post about hitting your nose off the tree, lol. But yeah, it's good that you didn't like last year :P


http://www.xanga.com/bronxbombette said...

I've never been to a tree farm nor has my family ever had a real tree because of my brother's allergies. However our uber ghetto fake tree sheds like a real tree and its easy to find a candle that smells like a real tree. I hope Alli likes the tree!


Randall said...

So pretty! I miss out on that here in Florida... today it is 80 degrees!

Janice said...

That's wonderful! I bet Allison will love it!

Ray/http://www.xanga.com/marilynmonroe4u2nv said...

What a beautiful tradition. We get a real tree every year as well but, it's nowhere near the experience you've had. It's just in some little lot with a couple of trees lined up: from cheapest to the most expensive. It's also of course based on the different tree types. Though you make me wish I could have the experience you've had getting a tree. Maybe one day.

And I'm sure as Allison grows older she'll love the tradition you've had for so long. She'll probably also be just as spirited as you to get a great tree, not just any old one. ;o)

Take, care.

P.S. Jerry is a trip! Gotta love him, on wanting to be a troll! =)

Anonymous said...

i loved doing that for Christmas... then my parents bought a fake tree my senior year of college... ohhhh the disappointment... and i have never seen snow while cutting down the tree (aka texas... which also has 70 degree weather this week... at least where i'm at)

Shalini said...

i love that your tree has a story. I can't wait to see next year's tree and how Alli wanted the one that looked like it needed the house the most. That will be so cute!

Jerry looks like he has rocker hair!

Nikki said...

i love the pictures, they are absolutely goregous. and i definitely love the one of jerry's hair!

ww.xanga.com/the_plainsman said...

Real trees rock! Especially when you can cut your own, too. Twice have had the misfortune of losing a large evergreen to a pre-Christmas storm and been able to top it for a tree that was "home grown." Glad no "incidents" this year. LOL