Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Our Christmas Tree

When we first started our family’s Christmas tree tradition, we lived in Pennsylvania. There was a gas station down the street where we would all pack it up in the car and go down to the Christmas tree lot and pick out the best tree we could find. You couldn’t smell the gas there, only the strong scent of pine, which I loved. The kids would run in between the trees and of course, Tukey would choose the scrawniest tree. We’d tell him that was an awesome tree, then steer him in another direction while we found one more fitting for our family.

After we found the biggest and the best, the guy at the Christmas tree lot (who I remember as always being good looking and fun to flirt with – wow, the things I think back on when I write these tradition posts!) … the guy would take our tree over to the saw and cut the bottom of the tree so it would be level. The smell of saw dust and pine filled the crisp winter air.

It was always soooo cold!

Back at the house, we would put up the tree while our three little kids danced around it later, in their Buzz Lightyear and Barbie jammies. The smell of sap and pine saturating the room. Ajers always christened our tree with a unique name. He always named our Christmas tree. How cute is THAT? One year he named our tree Rudolph, King of the Trees.

After the tree had a day to ‘fall’ so the branches could loosen, we’d start putting on the ornaments. Back then, we didn’t have a ton, just enough for a brand new little family. But now we have a billion. 

A decade later, with a move in between that lasted six years in Chicago, we live on the other side of the country. And five or six years ago, we decided not to get real trees any more. We decided it was too much of a mess. The sap got all over the carpet, needles got everywhere. We had to water the tree every.single.day. The tree usually turned brown before Santa came.

Our tree now is still beautiful. It’s really, really tall, and this year we decided to keep it with just all white lights. I know some people who have themed trees, and while that’s great for them, it doesn’t speak to me. Well, actually, that’s not true. My tree is a themed tree. My tree is themed after my family. My tree is a FAMILY themed tree. It represents US. The oldest ornament on the tree is one I made in second grade. 

SOMEONE sneaked it onto the tree this year without me knowing, because I usually ALWAYS put it on the tree myself. That is my job. That is MY ornament. We also have ornaments from places we have been like NYC, the Grand Canyon, Navy Pier, Brookfield Zoo … we’ve started a collection. There are name ornaments, and silly ornaments, and sentimental ornaments like the one my grandmother, who will be 100 in July, gave me in 1992 when Mr. Manic and I first were together. It is very special to me because it was her acknowledging that she accepted him into our family.

My favorite ornaments in the entire world are the ones that my children made in a Mommy and Me class I took with each one of them. These ornaments are simple paper plates with glued on tissue and their pictures in the middle. It doesn’t get any easier than that. I wouldn’t care if my whole tree was filled with them. In fact, I wish I had one of them from every year so I could see how they’ve grown. 

This year, the night we put up the tree, Tukey and Diva wanted to sleep in the living room by the tree. We let ‘em. They’re still little at heart, and they were so excited to camp out by the tree, to whisper about Christmas and talk about whatever it is they talk about when the two of them get together. It was cute, and maybe they’re starting their own little tradition – a camp-out under the tree the night it goes up?
Do you put up a tree? Do you have a special tree tradition, like this family? What kind of ornaments do you have, and are any especially sentimental to you?

And because this post is sponsored by my friends at Subway, don’t forget you can go over to the Fresh Takes on Family Time site and share your fun family traditions to enter to win a $50 gift card –– you could use a night off from cooking. PS – while you’re over there, check out this video ...it’s absolutely darling. I want to be this family, they’re so cute!

Happy Holidays, and seriously, if you don’t have a tree up yet, go do it already! Time’s a wasting!

XO from the MaNiC one!

My blog is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.


Travis Erwin said...

Our tree tradition is much like yours. a conglomeration of places and events from out life.

But I never flirted with the tree lot dude.

Travis Erwin said...

My word verification was horny.

robynn78 said...

We have 13 years worth of ornaments, and while putting them on our tree this year, it sure did bring back lots of memories... loved reading this too!

ludy2288 said...

I LOVE christmas trees and all the stories that come with a great tree. My mom started getting me an ornament every year since I was born pertaining to something that happened that year so when I moved out and started my own little family I would have a collection.

My great-grandma also made all her grandchildren ornaments every year. She passed away last summer shortly after being diagnosed with cancer, but still made sure all of the ornaments for that year were ready to deliver on Christmas eve.

Tara said...

We have the same tree tradition in our house as well. I had the same tradition as a child and I love sharing the memories with them each year.

I have countless ornaments I made as a child as well as the great handmade ones my children make. I started to purchase one new ornament each year for the each of the kids so when they move out on their own, they will have enough ornaments to decorate their first tree! This year's favorite ornament is a slice of bacon. Yep, bacon!

CAnative said...

My family and family friends of ours have been going out to a tree farm for about 20 years now to cut down our trees. Our children are only months apart and even though they are in their late teens and early twenties, in college, working full-time, in their Sr. year of high school and generally starting their own adult lives we are going out Sunday to get our trees. All of them have made arrangements to be available to go on this unpredictable outing! Some years wandering what seemed like forever to find the "perfect" tree. They always had a blast running around between the trees sometimes in the snow. It's awesome that they still want to partake in this tradition even with everyone's schedule. We don't see each other often enough and it's great to see the "kids" all together talking about the years past getting our trees.


absolutahnie said...

growing up my mother always gave my brother and i an ornament every year with the understanding that someday they would be ours for our own "grown-up" trees. i got my first place, no ornaments offered.
bought my condo, same deal. my brother finished med school & got married, bought a house & started a family and bingo! ornaments!!! me? still single but a homeowner...no ornaments. i finally asked "why?" answer? "you're not married!" *sigh* so for years i boycotted the whole tree thing (why bother?
it was just me!) then when i was 43
i met prince charming, we bought a house and mom coughed up the ornaments...even though we're not married...yet.

Jenn3128 said...

My family & I have been searching for the perfect tree topper, for YEARS. We aren't religious so an angel didn't fit, the stars were too gaudy.

Finally, this year, while standing in a costume shop, my husband & I had a moment of pure genius. There is was, our perfect tree topper...

A rubber mask in the shape of Jack Skellington. We bought him, brought him home, stuffed him, & put him on top of our tree. He's perfect and he fits right in with our family. Our Nightmare Before Christmas tree is finally complete. I don't know why it took us so long to see that we needed the Pumpkin King on top of our tree.

buttah said...

We go to a tree farm every year on Thanksgivng day and pick our tree and have it cut. We love the real deal! Our ornaments are also a mismash of things collected from different places and times since Hubs and I have been together for the last 15 years. And also ones that Little Man has made over the last 5 1/2 years too. I also love the handmade ones that he has brought home from daycare and school.

michelle m! said...

a "live" tree has always been a tradition, but I am seriously considering breaking it, seriously tired of needles EVERYWHERE!

IandSsmom said...

Our tree always had all the ornaments from when we were kids and stuff but last year right before Christmas my mom died suddenly and this year it was just way too hard to go threw all those ornaments that she loved so much! :( So we bought one of those trees that comes pre-lit and pre-decorated and you just put a pole together and pull the fully decorated tree down on it! It's beautiful and alot easier to look at!!

Kimmi said...

I had to smile when you mentioned letting the branches "fall out". When I was little, I wanted to decorate the tree as soon as my father won the struggle to get it into the stand....but alas, we always had to wait 24 hours to allow the tree to "relax". It took FOREVER. Thanks for reminding me of a pleasant memory from my childhood.