(and still have a Merry Christmas)
It's been a tradition ever since my Dad was little; we cut our trees. In the wild.
Back in the 40s and 50s Grandma and Grandpa would bundle up the family in search of the perfect tree but once my Dad and Uncle Jim were old enough (back then that could have been around 11 or 12, who knows?) they were assigned the manly task of getting the tree. Dad tells the story of one particular year while, as a teen, he was out searching for a tree with his younger brother and once they were way out in the middle of the wilderness with nothing but lots of snow and a large handsaw between them he turned to Jim and said in his wickedest voice, "You know . . . Mom and Dad sent me out here to kill you."
Yes, that's our family and the Christmas spirit. As a kid I thought the story hysterical. Now, as a mother I think it's an abomination, but what can you do?
You never know what you're going to get. Sometimes you get a year with no snow so it's easier to find a tree when everything is bare and snow-less but harder to drag it out over the ground without denuding it of its needles. Sometimes you get a blizzard where, after ten minutes, you're practically entombed in drifted snow so that you don't care and end up taking the first tree in sight . . . as soon as someone digs you out. Once we went and the ground wasn't even frozen, let alone covered with snow, and my overeager husband four-wheeled it into the back country until we practically plummeted to our deaths over a ravine but then got the truck so stuck we had to cut down trees just to back it up and get out. Good times.
But Andrew and the kids hadn't been gone five minutes; in fact, some of the stragglers were still visible from the road, when Andrew had got to the spot, found the tree and harvested. Just like that. Or I should say that Spencer harvested the tree as he did the actual cutting and hauling. Andrew tells me he's training Spencer to take over the job so he can finally pass that torch.
And here's our beauty, decorated and vertical in the living room. My man knows how to pick 'em.
When I was a kid my favorite ornament on the tree was a little bird in a nest that attached to the tree limb with a clothespin glued to the bottom of the nest. It was a partridge in a pear tree and we all experienced the true meaning of the season as the six of us fought and bickered about who got to put it on the tree each year. I don't know how my mom stood it without throwing us into the snowbank and abandoning us to the elements.
Remembering how much I loved that ornament I made one of our own this year and it turned out so sweet and cute. You really can't get much easier than gluing a fake bird in a fake nest with a clothespin on the bottom. It's crafting that even the most craft-challenged can handle and it looks so pretty--just see for yourself. I don't think ours is a bona-fide partridge--more of a chickadee perhaps--but it's still very pretty. One time we found a real bird's nest in our tree when we got the tree home and dried out in the stand, other years we might get only a lot of moose hair tangled in the branches but it's all part of the experience. Merry Christmas!