The Prettiest Christmas Tree Ever…a Holiday Tradition

Christmas Tree 2    I have fond remembrances of our family Christmas trees and the tradition of selecting and decorating one every year . Odd, but they always seemed bigger at home than in the field.  Often, it was challenging just getting it through our front door and into the stand.  Invariably, the very tip of the evergreen would brush the ceiling, leaving sticky sap spots on the flat white finish, a convenient reminder for the exact placement the following year.

Our adventures began with a chorus of Christmas carols while driving to the tree farm. There, we scattered about, sometimes laboring through snow in our heavy winter boots, or catching snowflakes from a sudden squall with the tips of our tongues, as we weaved among hundreds of evergreens in search of the perfect one to take its place in our home. If ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, our choice was more difficult because we had four sets of eyes, each with its own sense of beauty. But in the end, we’d agree on one and tag it as ours

.Christmas Tree 4

The back and forth sawing quickly heated my body and I would shed my jacket and hat. Surely, I silently cursed the sharp needles pricking my cheeks while kids and mom laughed and threw snow. After the “timmmber’ stage, came dragging, hoisting, and tieing it to the rooftop with enough rope to hold down a ‘big top’, then driving it home slowly, every knot I made pulled taut by the challenging headwinds.

Our efforts produced a beautiful Christmas tree each year and we would proudly gather to admire it with wide open eyes reflecting the twinkling of the lights and ornaments.  As we enjoyed the beauty of the moment and our traditional ice cream Yule log, the annual declaration was made…

“This is our prettiest tree ever”

And it always was, ‘the prettiest tree ever’.

Christmas Tree

Times change, children move on, traditions wain, but the Christmas tree remains the centerpiece of our decorations. It brightens our spirits and sends a joyous message of the season to passers bye who see our window.  It stirs fond memories earlier Christmases, growing up with my large family and our different traditions.

And while this year’s tree is an artificial one that has no sticky sap, it still gets turned one way and then the other until just right. And I still hear the words, “It’s the prettiest tree ever”, and it always is.
Christmas Tree 5

Do you have memories of Christmas trees and family traditions that are special?  Its fun to share them…

srbottch

Dedicated to my wife and children who helped make our Christmases special.

Christmas Tree 3

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srbottch

Retired in 2013 after 5 years as an elementary school teacher and 40 years as a sales representative. My essays/stories are a way to communicate through the telling of personal experiences. One reader said about my essays, "...these are like a cold sip during a marathon run, simple, real life events". Enjoy the run!

14 thoughts on “The Prettiest Christmas Tree Ever…a Holiday Tradition”

  1. The trees of my childhood were extra special because every ornament was handmade by my mother. As I grew old enough to help, mine were added along with a few from my dad, a wood carver. Most of my Christmases were spent in Texas, but one time I was in Alaska and cut my own tree from the forest behind my cabin. That was an extra special tree as well. Thanks for bringing these treasured memories to mind. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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    1. Ida Beth, I am so happy that I reminded you of that although, something tells me you didn’t need reminding. What a wonderful tradition you had and I’m sure that when you hold those ornaments, you ‘touch your mother’s and dad’s hand’ as I wrote recently. Have a Merry Christmas and thank you so much for reading my ‘musings’. Steve…

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      1. You are right, but reading others’ memories help us frame our own in a different light and makes them even more special. I am blessed to have my mom with me, and she has those same ornaments on her tree even today. As for my dad, yes, it’s much like you wrote about in your previous post, which is why I always enjoy reading. Happy Christmas!

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  2. Very nice remembrances of a wonderful tradition that helped make Christmas “merry and bright”. Do you remember Aunt Celia’s Christmas trees that had real candles on the branches that you lit.  They were clipped to the branches and had special holders to catch the wax.  I remember going to her house with mother and dad at night and seeing the tree with candles and Angel hair and thinking it was so pretty.  This year our Christmas tree consisted of an artificial one that fit on one of our tables.  Are we getting old or what. All the little ones didn’t seem to mind as they had fun seeing if their names were on any of the packages.  It was a hectic family Christmas weekend but “granny and granddaddy “survived. Hoping you and Cheryl enjoy another Merry Christmas.     Love you

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    1. Thank you, sister. I don’t recall Aunt Celia’s special Christmas tree but that’s the advantage you have over me, been around four years more. Couldn’t resist. I do remember the white artificial tree dad brought home. It was 2 feet wide and 5 feet tall. ‘The ugliest tree ever’. Haha. Have a very Merry Christmas, June.

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  3. Another heartwarming post. I have some of my fondest memories of Christmas growing up in Holland. My father would gather all the kids from around the neighborhood and tie our sleds to the back of his car. He would then drive us through town like a train with all of us in tow! I also remember the little candles we used to light the tree (rather than electric lights). Thanks for sharing your story.

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  4. Steve, Thanks for the memories of choosing, cutting and decorating your perfect tree. We have fond memories of trudging through the snow to choose our perfect tree and the special time decorating it with Christmas music playing – often a recording of the Festival of Carols and Lessons from Kings College, Cambridge. When finished we would have candy cane cookies (made with the children), and tea or hot chocolate. Such special times! We now have an artificial tree but still enjoy decorating it – now with the grandchildren.
    All good wishes for a Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the wonderful story of your Christmas tree tradition. I’m so glad that I ‘ticketed’ your memory with this one. And I do appreciate your comments.

      I hope your family had a wonderful Christmas holiday and best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year.

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