Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Trees Alaskan Style

Alaskan Christmas TreesAlaska has beautiful mountains, rivers and glaciers--but trees? That's not really our forte. Oh we've got birch, cottonwood, alder and spruce in abundance but there's a reason you don't go down to your local tree lot hankering for a genuine, authentic Alaskan spruce.

They're scraggly, they're threadbare, they're the mangy dog of the tree world and they're wonderful.

Ever since I was old enough to remember Christmas our family has chopped our own Alaskan spruce for the holidays and can I say they're an acquired taste? Like so many things that grow from tradition though our trees may not be the runway models of the coniferous world (though they're emaciated enough to qualify) they have come to hold a special place in my heart as year after year we venture out into the Alaskan wilderness to lovingly select and harvest a tree for our home.

This year was no different and Saturday we went out in search of The Tree, that one special tree that would serve as the honored symbol of the holidays, the focal point of the home for the next three weeks. You can keep your Douglas Fir, your Scotch Pine, your Blue Spruce. It takes no talent to decorate one of these glamour trees and make them look good--did Grace Kelly ever need makeup and designer clothes to look beautiful? She was already perfect.

Alaskan Christmas TreesIt takes real talent and skill to take the homely, sparse, patchy little Eliza Doolittle tree you see above and create a beauty from such humble beginnings. Just look at that pear-shape! Don't you feel some sympathy already? I'm full of compassion for anything that also struggles with thick thighs.

Well to get back to this weekend (and you can read more about our annual Christmas tree traditions here) we chopped our tree and it's up. No matter what it looks like the smell of pine is all through the house and lights shine from every branch just as beautifully as ever. We're ready for Christmas, it can come. And just look at the results--Alaska's trees may not look like much but they clean up real nice.

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34 comments:

Joyful Days said...

I think it is perfect. It has character! I miss having a real tree, but the cat loved to climb them. Has no interest in artificial. I have no interest in picking up the pieces ten or fifty times.

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Oh, it's great...it's like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree!

Robin said...

It looks beautifully festive and homey. And amazingly upright ;-).

Christina said...

What a fantastic makeover! I would opt for a real tree if I could find one with such individuality and personality!

Oh, Blogrolled you. :D

Julie Pippert said...

Cowgirl scooped my comment, LOL.

I think it is a VERY cool tree, and doesn't everything look pretty in little lights?

Yes indeed, Charlie Brown would be proud.

Plus, think of how green you are for buying locally, instead of from trees shipped up from oh say Washington.

:)

Julie
Using My Words

Jacki said...

I love it! It looks just like a Danish Christmas tree!!

Patty said...

I love it too!

It has character and y'all picked it and fancied it up a bit and it is quite beautiful !

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Now THAT'S a tree to love. And it didn't even need Linus' blanket.

By the way, I'm surprised Alaska doesn't have ... shall we say ... plumper trees. It seems like the forests would be thick with them there. Interesting piece of trivia.

Janet said...

I agree, I think they're better if they aren't exactly triangular shaped with every branch the right length. Might as well be artificial that way. And as my daughter says, "It's the best Christmas tree we ever had!" (She's had 4 now.) But it is.

Sherry said...

I love it! It has a lot more character than our artificial tree, that's for sure!

Summer said...

It's beautiful! I love the smell of a real pine tree.

Irene said...

That is cool. We also get real trees, but we have many "perfect" trees to pick from. I think it is great that you get an authentic Alaskan tree! It has so much more meaning!

Diane said...

I think that is one incredible tree! I'm all for asymmetry. Here in Michigan, we have amazing pine trees - perfect cones. Somehow I always end up with - uh - not so perfect. They have character, hey!

jennwa said...

I love your tree, we use to get the same looking trees when we lived in Montana. I really do miss the natural look. It is also a great experience to go and cut down your own tree.

Magpie said...

I love your tree. I always gravitate towards the wacky open misshapen trees - I find that there's more room for ornaments if the tree is open like that.

G's Cottage said...

I agree with Magpie. When we lived in Colorado we would drive up into the National Forest where for $2.50 and a new muffler you could cut a tree that that had been marked for thinning.

The oldest was just big enough to help make gingerbread cookie ornaments and they turned out fairly large which filled in those gaps perfectly.

Lisa Milton said...

I love your tree. Ours is just fine but artificial. (I know, evil.)

Our allergies finally made us give in.

I'm thinking one of these years, we stock up on claritin and get a tree, for the memories alone.

Morning Glory said...

It's a really beautiful tree!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE YOUR TREE...I COME FROM SWITZERLAND REAL TREE AND REAL CANDELS...THEY LOOK LIKE YOURS...
HAPPY HOLIDAYS

MommyTime said...

"runway model" -- you can say that again. You forgot to mention it's astonishingly TAALLL! I love it. We have a scotch pine (MI). Though for years we cut our own, this year we decided to forgo that since the idea of trying to keep up with a toddler and a preschooler in a cutting area filed with saws and falling trees was more than I could handle. At least it still smells good...but I agree with you, the family ritual makes it all the better.

Thea said...

That tree makes me want to break out the Vince Guaraldi.

PunditMom said...

What Thea said! I LOVE your tree!

Amy said...

I love trees that have character and a good story. Yours had both- thanks!!!

Cecily R said...

That is the kind that we always looked for at my Mom's house. She always wants lots of holes so that all of her ornaments (most of which were made by us over the years)would have a place where they could be seen. Your tree is perfect for my mom's front room.

By the way, have I told you how much I love the way you write?

Babystepper said...

Weell...I'm not sure about the Eliza Dolittle comparison, because there was an Audrey Hepburn under all those old clothes.

I love your tree, though. It's like our scraggly cedars around here, full of character.

sandierpastures said...

I see nothing wrong with the tree! I love it, at least it's natural. Someday, I would love to have a natural tree on Christmas.

dandelionmama said...

Michelle, those are the trees I'm aleays SEARCHING for!! I love me some sparse, lopsided, open trees!! And I just can't find them oddball enough for my taste!

I've even been known to lop off branches in an effort to make my tree look like yours. Really.

I covet your tree.

Crafts and Gift Guru Gal said...

I love that great tree, better than a typical artificial tree some people use.

pussreboots said...

Beautiful tree. We don't have one here. There just isn't room for a tree. Plus we're always traveling on the holiday.

Cocoa said...

I think it looks gorgeous, way better than the pinon pines we have here in Nevada. Some years we can't find any that are decent and have to opt for sagebrush instead. The smell though is HEAVENLY and totally makes up for the lack of looks.

Daisy said...

A Charlie Brown tree. Totally. We had a tree one year that looked straight, but had a slight S-curve we didn't see. Hence the new words to a familiar carol: "Oh, Christmas Tree, oh, Christmas Tree; I hope you don't fall over!"

Melissa Markham said...

A lovely Charlie Brown Tree:) The decorations are what make them look so beautiful and you get to smell the wonderful scent:) Merry Christmas!

Lisa said...

I think it looks fabulous. There's lots of room under the tree for all of those presents Santa will deliver! :-)

chelle said...

Totally the perfect tree ... we have always had an artificial one due to finances ... maybe next year we will try a real tree.