Christmas was always a special time for me as a kid!
It was my grandmother use to make it a very special time of the year. She went all out, she had a large Santa that stood in a sleigh decoration with individual reindeer that she would put on the top of her organ. Beneath the Santa decoration, she had a sheet of white foamy material that looked like snow.
The Christmas tree was put up with silver garland, special fancy homemade ornaments, silver tinsel hanging perfectly straight, and about 3 strings of lights (my grandfather hated to get them working every year). She also put decoration throughout the house, it was magical when I was a small boy. On one special gift for each person that she bought a gift for, she would wrap it so that it would create a wintry or Christmas scene (this was a lot of work).
Most years, my grandfather would go and buy a real fir-tree when I was younger, so the room that the tree was in would have a faint pine tree smell. My grandmother use to play Christmas songs (O Christmas Tree, Here comes Santa Clause, Silent Night, Rudolph, Frosty the snowman, etc) on her organ and we would sing some of the songs together. I was a great time! So, now that I have kids, this is a hard act to follow, but I wanted to do something.
So I decided to start a new family tradition.
On a whim, when my son was 1 and 1/2, we decided to buy a real Christmas tree instead of using an artificial one like I’ve had since I became an adult. Close to where we live is a large family owned tree farm. So I decided to give it a try…, and to my surprise, I was very impressed!
While we could buy a cut Christmas tree there, they also gave you the option of taking a saw and sled and cutting down your own Christmas tree. And this is exactly what I did that first year. Then when we went in to pay for it, we encountered another great surprise. They had Christmas music playing, and had a bunch of chair around an open hearth stove. They then sell popcorn, cookies and hot chocolate. So that is what we did! And to top off everything, they usually have 2 real reindeer in a fenced in area just to add a bit of extra Christmas flavor. It’s truly a great experience!
Since that first year, we have been doing it that way ever since. Now, my son and daughter alternate picking the tree every year making it that much more fun. This year, we are going to take our dog too. We usually wait for it to snow before going to pick out the tree (this is tough sometimes, because we don’t always get snow in December).
Now, you are probably wondering how much my newly created “family tradition” cost… Well since we usually go with the more expense fir trees, so in total, it costs me about $60.00. It’s one of the few times during the year that I’m a spendthrift
It’s worth it though… Oh, I forgot to mention that on the way to the tree farm, we play Christmas music in the car with the kids singing the songs… It’s a very Norman Rockwell-like experience. Using this activity, I’ve been able to recapture some of the Christmas spirit I encountered as a small child, and hopefully made it magically the same way for my kids.