For my family and me, a major holiday tradition is decorating the Christmas tree. My mom creates beautiful, elaborate color schemes with ornaments, tinsel, ribbon, garland and lights. I'm not quite there yet, but that doesn't mean I enjoy the process any less! My very own Christmas tree tradition was feeble and tepid until last year, when Josh and I bought our first tree, from the Dairy Queen parking lot.
It was my first real tree, too! We loved it. Here it is - Christmas 2010:
That kicked off a mini-dilemma for this year, though, about real versus artificial trees. I grew up with artificial trees, and I completely see the argument: cost-effective, less mess, etc. But the fake trees don't smell like pine. Oh, Reader, I just adore that smell. Josh and I were on the fence for a long time this year. We scouted fake trees and real trees. I texted him from Whole Foods with a real tree sighting and from Target about a fake tree I liked.
It wasn't until last weekend that we just up and made a decision. We went over to a hardware store to scope their tree sale, which was advertised for $25, any tree. We found a real hodgepodge of trees: some tall and slim, some round, some lopsided, some homely - not unlike what you'd expect for $25. But then, tucked in the middle of all the trees, we found our tree. At that moment, a light snow started falling. Cue understated Christmas music.
Okay, I'm being dramatic. But obviously it really did start snowing in between the time we spotted the tree and the time we left with it. It was pretty beautiful and I was enamored by this tree. So was Josh.
The next task was getting it home, since the store didn't bag the trees in that netting. The sensible solution seemed to be to jam it in Josh's backseat. Here's the tree, waiting to begin that adventure:
It fit in the car!!!
We took it home, and the work began. We/Josh:
- set up the tree stand
- realized the tree was quite a bit larger than we initially realized
- got the lights configured
- gave it a long drink of water
Here's what it looked like Saturday night, before decorations went on:
The next day, it was ornament time. We are building our collection, currently a motley mix of childhood favorites and random newer ornaments. (It didn't seem important in college to cultivate ornaments for our future trees.) My friend Nat and her husband have started picking up ornaments through their travels. I so wish I would've done that, and I vow to start in 2012.
Here are some of my favorites, beginning with Josh's ojos de dios from when he was a kid:
I also still have a really old Twins ornament that lost its hook somewhere along the way and rests in the branches. The only World Series championship date printed on the ornament is 1987, making me think I got it before the Twins won again in '91.
Of course, we represent my first Christmas.
And then there was 1994. A really good year, I guess. As I've mentioned, I used to be a very avid cross-stitcher. (Note: I was not cross-stitching by my first birthday and only take credit for the following ornament, not the previous one.)
And hooray for the final product! It looks even rounder in this picture. In reality, it's a little taller than I am. And definitely taller than last year's. And as one friend phrased it at book club, so very squat. I love it.