Every year we make the trek to the local big box lawn and garden center and pick out our Christmas tree. The boys love this, and I will admit that it does feel rather festive to sort through (and sniff!) them all and pick just the right one. It's fun to wait in line at the check out with bouncing, excited little boys, so proud of their choice. It's giggly goodness to watch papa struggle with tying it to the top of the car and to drive home feeling like a banner waves over us declaring, "It is officially Christmastime!"
… but…. it always makes me a little sad that we don't cut our own tree. There's something right and true about going into the woods as family, leaves crunching underfoot, each of you taking your turn at the saw. It feels real, honest… not at all like the consumerist, cookie cutter feeling I get from buying a tree at a store.
Yes, there IS a tree farm about an hour and a half's drive from home and every year I think we'll make the trip, but we never seem to gather up the will to take that drive. I'm not sure why. I guess deep down I don't really want to visit a farm either (though we have once, and it really was lovely.) It's better than a store, for sure, but still, it isn't the same as receiving the gift of your family's tree straight from the hands of nature. I have ridiculously romantic (in other words, very unrealistic) notions of what it would be like to wander the wintry woods in search of the perfect centerpiece for our holiday festivities.
But we don't live in a pine forest.
We don't live anywhere near a pine forest.
So, when I read Sarah's sweet memories of her mother's wreath-making, I knew what we had to do.
We loaded up our clippers, buckets and bags and we walked into the wild.
It was colder out than we thought it would be. Our 70 degree weekend highs have vanished.
But it was good. There's nothing like that feeling… chilly air burning your lungs, rubbing reddened hands together for warmth, running until you're hot, then shedding your coat only to want it back just as soon as the wind blows.
And best of all, silence…. no one else around. No one talking too loudly on her cell phone to her BFF about what shoes to wear to the party, no creepy guy invading your personal space in the check out line, no overtired child shrieking his disapproval to his completely oblivious parents as they debate the merits of the inflatable reindeer vs. the giant musical snowglobe.
I love shopping. Can you tell?
Anyhow, back to the woods….
We don't have pine trees where we live, it's true, but we DO have cedar and yaupon (plus a few leftover clippings from the Christmas tree).
And now we have a wreath.
There were a lot of hands (and a whole lotta florist wire) involved in the making of that wreath. There was talk of the symbolism of circles and evergreen. There was cocoa to warm us and laughter over the silly lopsided shape of our creation. We had a good time gathering and making together.
So, I hope that as imperfect as our little wreath is, it will serve as a reminder this holiday season of the perfect gift of family, and this beautiful world in which we live (crazy shoppers and all). I hope too that a new tradition has found it's way into our celebrations.
A merry day to you all!