Tuesday, December 12, 2006

An Alaskan Christmas Tree for Me

My family has always cut our own Christmas trees. Yes siree, no wimpy fake trees or bound-and-gagged trees off some lot--it's nothing but free-range, homegrown, Alaskan spruce for us.

There's nothing like harvesting a tree in a blizzard or four-wheeling through the back woods and nearly plunging into a ravine to imprint the Christmas season indelibly in your mind, but ever since my own little branch of the family has been here we've followed the tradition with a couple improvements. Here's what you could expect should you ever join us for the Annual Christmas Tree Hunt:

1. We go on a weekday and take the kids out of school. I know we're probably irresponsible parents but they love it. Something about skipping school makes the whole thing feel forbidden and exciting.

2. We go to breakfast. We rarely take the kids to restaurants so a meal at Village Inn is something special and they plan what they're going to eat weeks ahead. Andrew always orders Chicken Fried Steak which puzzles me: Is it beef? It is chicken? Is it meat at all? It's Coronary a la King as far as I'm concerned but he treasures his yearly date with death like no other.

The picture doesn't even include the four pieces of toast. Gluttony thy name is Andrew. I'm feeling superior for sticking with the veggie omelet and side of fruit whereas Andrew was so stuffed afterwards he had a hard time reaching the steering wheel. We suggested he use his new gut to steer.

3. We drive an hour south of Anchorage into Chugach National Forest for a tree. If there's lots of snow remember the snow shoes, but if the ground is bare then dragging our prey over the barren ground de-needles it faster than anything.

And the result of our day's labor? A Charlie Brown tree only an Alaskan could love. It's not much to look at but represents a lot of fun and memories.

29 comments:

J said...

I love your tradition. :) When I was little, we had a tree up in Fairbanks that had frozen, and all of the needles fell off...you could hear them..ping, ping ,WHOOSH, ping ping WHOOSH...By Christmas morning, I don't think there was a single needle on that poor tree! HA!

Perhaps that's why we have a fake tree now? Though if I lived somewhere with snow and so on, I might get a real one...

scribbit said...

You know I said to Andrew this evening as he was grunting to get the tree into the stand, "As soon as the kids are out, we're getting a fake tree." I'm into traditions, but I'm also into efficiency and neatness :)

local girl said...

I love that tree even though it scares me a little. But it definitely has personality! Good luck in the contest!

Anonymous said...

That is a wonderful tradition. Your children will remember it for the rest of their lives and one, that they may carry on with their own children. (I agree with you though--once they're gone--why put yourself through it!?)

:)

strugglingwriter said...

That sounds like a great tradition and I love your pictures, especially the one of the snow covered mountain.

Jerusalem...yes that's my real name said...

I love it! That is what I am going for with our tree's too. Lots of memories and a Charlie Brown-esque look. Much better that way!

Waya said...

What a great tradition Michelle! Your kids will grow up having such fond memories of their childhood! What great parents you two are!

Damselfly said...

Can I be a member of your family?

Leslie said...

How fun!

I love Charlie Brown trees. We let our toddler choose ours this year, so we have one, too.

Cece said...

What a great tradition! I could totally do that, minus the snow. LOL

Mama of 2 said...

What a great tradition. I would love to have one like that. It sounds like great family fun.

We are going to go get our tree tonight and while it will be of the real variety...it will already be cut and bound for us.

Kelly said...

I love the tradition, and I love the tree! My parents did the same thing with us kids a few times when I was going up (but on a weekend, alas) -- Colorado evergreens work quite well as honest-to-goodness Christmas trees. These days, my trees come from a lot, but at least they're not plastic.

Poopydigs said...

Okay, how much do I LOVE chicken fried steak.

Great decorating job! I can't wait til we start our own traditions.

Anonymous said...

Such a sweet tree!

We are the types that just put up the artificial tree. My dad was allergic to the trees growing up so we have always had a fake one.

We actually shove it (fully assembled other than ornaments) into the shed out back. The day after Thanksgiving, we just go take it out and plug that puppy in.

We have a tree in two seconds flat ;)

Your adventures sound much cooler though!

Belle said...

Awww, I love the tree! We still haven't gotten our fake 3 ft tree up, but it's going up tomorrow.

I really love the tradition that goes along with getting your tree, though. We never do anything special like that, although we do bake cookies and nibble on them while we unpack the tree and put ornaments on it

Kim said...

I love your tree, Michelle, because it was hand picked by you and your family. Mine is artificial and lugged down from the attic every year.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it's nice to know that somebody else does this too. Last year, my husband and I went on Crown land and cut down a tree similar to yours. That was a new experience for this tree-farm girl. We ended up getting two trees and tying them together just so we'd have more than six branches. This year our plan is the same, though I'm wistfully trying not to miss the perfectly shaped tree farm type. Even though I still wish for that kind of tree, I know a "Charlie Brown" one will be much more fun, meaningful, and sentimental. We get ours this Friday, and I've already started praying we find one with more than six branches. =)

tracy m said...

That is the BEST (!!!!) tree EVER!!! That's the kind I love, but can never, ever, ever find!! My husband teases me about seeking out the scraggly trees, but I think they're SO SO Beautiful...

Prahagirl said...

For some reason, my comment listed me as anonymous...I am not...I am Prahagirl...wierd.

Prahagirl said...

I'm the 1st anonymous though :)

J Fife said...

I can't imagine a more beautiful tree.

Binkytown said...

Thats awesome! How rustic! I'm in the city- we drive up and haul them off a lot- just not the same.

Sandy said...

I am officially jealous of your Christmas tradition! We do cut our own tree down, but we do it at one of those "fakey" forest lots (it's just not the same).

Come to think of it, I don't know if we even could chop anything down in a forest, much less a national forest.

scribbit said...

Andrew took some quicky video of the boys sawing the tree down and I would have posted it because it was so funny. The boys are huffing and puffing and Spencer says, "Dad, we need some help, this is hard!"

And Andrew just keeps filming and says, "Oh, you're doing great, keep at it!"

It's funny because he's sitting back and letting them do all the labor but I thought people might not understand it the right way without knowing our family better so I didn't post it.

portraitsbyfaith said...

OHMYWORD!!!I love it! It looks like the perfect tree to me! It sounds like so much fun!! We just don't see much snow in Georgia!! LOL!!

Faith said...

Okay, that last one was me - Faith. It went with my email address. OOPS!

lizzie said...

ahhh, i had great feelings of nostalgia when reading your post. when i lived in idaho we would go out each year and cut down our own tree. i miss that! i'm with andrew on his choice of chicken fried steak as it is one of my most favorite comfort foods. bwt, thanks for stopping by my blog and the comment you left on my mother & child photo. i've got you bookmarked and will be visiting you some more. :)

Ni Yachen said...

I went up with my boys and Dad to get a tree at our cabin. Dad went up to collect their fake tree from storage. As he grunted to lunk the two monster boxes into the truck, which he had to wrap in a trap because it was snowing, he complained about the how fake trees are just as big a pain as real ones. Lesson learned; the grass is always greener on the otherside.

Mo Mommy said...

Makes me remember dh and I getting our first tree as a married couple. We were so proud of that thing, and of ourselves for braving the snow and freezing rain to find the perfect tree. We loved it and decorated it with our few ornaments, it was great. About 6 months later we developed a roll of film that had some pics of our tree on it. Imagine our shock when we realized what a scraggly, gappy, sad, funny looking little thing it really was!! Sigh, thanks for the memory.