Each year, I have to look back to see what I wrote about the Christmas tree. Because each year, I feel the same way about it, and want to say the same thing. About the old debate about artificial vs real, the way it doesn't feel like Christmas until the tree is up and decorated. This year, it was just the same. But then again, it wasn't.
This year, instead of driving to the store to pick up a tree, we drove further, along unpaved roads, through rolling countryside that is so American heartland that it leaves me breathless.
We drove to a small local tree farm to cut our own tree. The day was misty and wet.
We hiked over the muddy ground through the rows of White Pine, Scotch Pine, and Canaan Fir to look for the perfect tree. We ended up walking the rows several times, because the two different trees we liked were on opposite ends of the farm.
We finally decided on a bright green, fat Scotch pine. Bug and Monkey took turns sawing through the tree. They shouted, "Timber!" in absolute delight of the opportunity to do so.
Then, with Hubster at one end and me at the other, we carried the tree back up the hill, where the extremely friendly farmer shook out the loose needles and tied it to the top of the car.
The boys and I petted bunnies instead of helping.
I love that the tree is local Iowa grown. I love that it is freshly chopped. I love that we were helping out local farmers. I even love that it is the pokiest tree and so fat we had to do more furniture arranging than anticipated.
Once we were home, the tree was put up in the living room, the boxes of decorations were brought up from the basement, and Christmas music was started. I opened the boxes of gold and silver ornaments and then stood back. This year, I let them decorate by themselves. I hung garland around the house, put up the wreath, but didn't help with the Christmas tree baubles. I watched the boys be so sweet to each other and so proud of their work.
After every box was empty, the boys felt the tree was perfect. I absolutely agreed with them. I added a few flowers, but didn't move a single one of their carefully placed ornaments. There was no need.
The warm fuzzy feeling, the joy of watching my boys, and the tree in the corner. It was all perfect.