In my mind there is nothing quite as lovely as a Christmas Tree. The more lights the better. I prefer my tree with multi-colored lights. I think it lends a happier, light-hearted tone. But, white lights give a Christmas Tree a quiet, stillness, like snow falling in the evening. Either way I am mesmerized with the sight of a lighted pine tree.
When I was growing up in Indiana my family put our tree in front of one of the windows in the living room. Each evening as you drove in the drive the tree smiled out at you, welcoming you inside to hot chocolate and homemade Christmas cookies. To this day when I see a Christmas Tree in a window I get a warm glow from within.
Consequently, this time of year I feel melancholy because I know we need to take our tree down. It is my family’s tradition to put our tree up on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Yes, Black Friday. When many others are fighting their way through crowds in the mall we head to our favorite tree farm, Ellm’s Family Farm. A funny name for a farm that raises pine trees. We board a wagon being pulled by a tractor and search the all familiar map hoping to find once again the area that contains the perfect tree. Some years we freeze and battle the ice and snow. Others, like this year, barely require gloves and we grew warm hiking in search of our prize. The search takes a while because our group must come to a general agreement. Over the years our collection of tree hunters has always included my husband and I and our two daughters, but some years we have cousins, grandmas, and lately boyfriends. My husband enjoys being able to now hand the saw over to younger people for the annual cutting. And he is happy he no longer has to pull the tree through the fields back to the trolley.
Once home we begin with our traditional mini hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls, accompanied by beef stick and cheddar cheese. It is funny we now normally eat far more healthy than this, but traditions tend to stick and we have not been able to let go of this one. The Christmas CD’s are loaded and play pushed, we are ready to begin. Because the lights are so important to me, I string them onto the tree. I start with small twinkle lights near the center of the tree then on the outer branches I put larger lights. This illuminates the whole tree and causes it to glow even with competition from other lights. Last we hang the ornaments. They are a haphazard assortment, but every year they resonant their splendor causing me to rethink my thoughts of a themed tree.
As my youngest daughter does her final tradition of placing the star on top we all step back and admire our work. One of my favorite things to do is to sit in the room with the lit tree and admire the warming glow and the wonderful scent of the pine. When the girls were younger my husband traveled frequently. Each year, on one night, during the month of December, when he was away, the girls and I would sleep under the tree. I was like a kid receiving her most sought after gift every time I rolled over and saw those shimmering lights. I would fall back to sleep giddy with my view and a huge smile on my face.
Every year I fall in love with my Christmas Tree and every year I dread taking it down. I spend as many evenings as possible absorbing the glimmer from the lights. But, it is now January. The holiday season has come to an end. I figure I can squeeze just a few more nights of Christmas Tree gazing in before the inevitable happens and I have to un-decorate my master piece.