Family traditions are important to us. They might be as big as 25 people for Christmas dinner, or they might be as small as Sunday morning breakfasts in our sunroom. My husband and I work towards making our traditions something that the children not only enjoy but happily anticipate.
For our eldest, traditions are a comfortable, repeating and predictable event, for our daughter, they are a fun activity she enjoys while spending time with her family. For now, the baby gets to come along and experience new things.
Some of these traditions are deliberate, some not so much. One though is as new to me as it is to our older children: cutting a Christmas tree.
You see, when I met my husband, I had never had a real, live tree before.
So, off we went, to Spademan’s, the very same tree farm he had gone to with his family as a child, and we’ve been going there ever since.
It’s not huge, but by the time the kids have traipsed from one corner to the other, checking out every single tree looking for the perfect one, we have spent a good 45 minutes to an hour out there.
Our eldest carefully marked the trees in the running with tufts of dry grass and our daughter practiced her head stands and cartwheels amongst the rows of trees. All while I struggled to lug around our chunky baby who was so bundled up that he could hardly move yet was somehow able to surreptitiously remove his boots every few minutes. (there was no snow for a toboggan and we don’t yet have a wagon as I cleverly passed on all of the baby gear long ago) My husband corralled the dog, and juggled the saw, the video camera and the point and shoot camera (having wisely decided that the big camera might be too much to carry this year)
As is usual, we marched back and forth several times between two trees that I think were actually identical twins in an effort to determine which one was better. Someone finally said “I don’t care! I’m not walking anymore, it’s THIS one!” That someone might have been me.
Then, while I plopped myself down on the frozen ground to put the boots on baby again, and my hubby lay on his side cutting down the tree, we tried to get the older two to use the cameras and record the tree falling for posterity. Neither cared to.
But then our daughter stood up and said she wanted to carry the tree back, and promptly picked up the trunk and started dragging it. We looked at each other, shrugged and gathered up our things and boys quickly to catch up to her. I ended up carrying the top end to make it a wee bit easier.
I only took a small moment to correct hubby when he told her she was tough doing manly things, and told her that no, she is a strong woman. I don’t know if she caught the difference or not, preferring to focus on carrying the tree. She wouldn’t even take a break until I suggested it.
Back at the entrance we watched them pull our tree through the funnel-like contraption to fold the branches up to tie them for travelling, and got a big thrill watching them pull a really wide tree through using a winch.
We sat around the big bonfire and drank hot chocolate from our ancient thermos (used only twice a year-the Christmas parade and Christmas tree day) and ate hot dogs that never seem to stay warm wrapped in foil.
On our way home, two of the three fell asleep and the other zoned out completely.
Later, we decorated the tree while watching Christmas movies and despite a few minor quibbles (inevitable in our family of five)everyone was satisfied that our Christmas tradition had happened again.
After everyone was tucked into bed, hubby and I looked at each other and smiled. Despite everything else that may be going on, all is right in our home.