We arrived at a nearby Christmas tree lot at sunset last night. The Momtographer in me was suddenly more interested in photo taking than tree picking but fortunately for the kids the sun dipped below the treeline just as everyone unbuckled and climbed from the car. I’m seriously considering going back to buy a wreath tomorrow just so I can dress the kids better, go a bit earlier and take photos without looking like a crazy person.
Usually our trip to the tree lot involves a battle of wills…Rob declares the biggest tree on the lot to be “the one” while I point to the smallest tree on the lot (reminding him that our tree spot is much smaller than he is remembering). After several back and forths, “that’s too small”, “that’s too wide”,”that’s too tall” and 5 bored kids later we finally settle and tie a tree to the roof of the van. We arrive home to find that one of us was more right than the other, bringing in a tree either too wide or too short every time.
This year there was none of that! For the first time ever, the first tree we saw walking into the lot was “the one.” We all agreed it was indeed the perfect tree!
Next Rob pointed the kids toward the ‘sale’ area and told them to pick a tree for the school room so they could make ornaments and decorate all by themselves–the following photos are the result of that proclamation.
Tree decorating is always an adventure with young kids. We immediately had drama with our gimpy tree stand and several dud strands of light. The entire tree toppled on top of Rob as he lay on the floor working on the tree stand–I, the tree holder, may or may not have walked away to check on Emily just before the incident. Whoops! Later, during my turn to tighten the stand, I received pay back with tree sap in my hair, eyelashes, and on my fingers Clark Griswold style. “Little full…Lots of sap.” It took mineral spirits to get the sticky off my hands so I could hand the kids their ornaments.
The kids, impatient with tree stand and lighting issues, were happy when finally released to decorate the tree with ornaments. The tree was soon decorated albeit very bottom heavy thanks to the younger kids. There were branches holding 5 ornaments and branches with none along with sections of ornaments placed in straight rows organized by color and type. A perfectly themed tree is not for me. I love the haphazard look of a tree decorated by little people. I love ornaments that bring memories– of vacations, life changes, of the way a child was the year he or she created an ornament.
At lighting time, we found that our tree topper no longer works. Years ago, I found a lighted red star during after Christmas sales just like the one Rob talked about from his childhood Christmas tree. I excitedly wrapped it and gave it to him on his birthday that year. When he opened the gift he looked a little surprised and politely said “Thank you.” (I’m sure he was thinking, “A Christmas decoration, in February–as a birthday gift?”) Still a newlywed, it stung that he wasn’t very excited about my thoughtful gift. When I explained that his childhood memories were the motivation for my gift he burst out laughing and told me that it wasn’t a lighted red star, but a lighted red Santa Claus that was his childhood tree topper. Apparently newlywed Amanda needed to work on her listening skills.
Every year when we place the star on our tree we have a laugh at the expense of our newlywed selves. The star (though actually pretty ugly) had become a treasured part of our Christmas traditions; it’s sad that we’ll need to find a new topper now.