Finding the Perfect Tree

“O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
How lovely are thy branches”

O Christmas Tree, by Aretha Franklin

My family was big into decorating for Christmas growing up. We had two Christmas trees. The one upstairs held all of the nice, decorative ornaments – usually in a silver and gold theme, while the one downstairs hung all of our special childhood ones.

Each room had a different theme. My mom still enjoys doing this. One room will be snowmen, one nativity, another Santa Claus, and so on. It’s always fun to go to her house on Christmas and see where each theme resides as it usually changes.

My dad and stepmom have a passion for the Dickens Village. They have a little city’s worth. It takes two pieces of plywood to display it all. It’s beautiful to behold!

Michael and I love decorating for Christmas as well, even with our playful disagreements.

It is a tradition for Michael, his parents, his sister, and I to go on a tree hunt the first weekend in December every year. Michael and I alternate choosing which tree we’ll get every year because we have differing opinions. We have a blast heading out to the farm to pick our tree.

I love a tree that looks full and plump. I like it to be around six to seven feet tall and about four feet in diameter (estimating here).

Michael prefers a ten-foot tree or taller if he can find one. He enjoys it when the tree fills a quarter of the room. There were a couple of years where we had to cut the top of the tree off to fit it in our living room. We needed a ladder to decorate the top part.

My mom-in-love has a heart for the “Charlie Brown” kind of trees. Little, sparse, and easy to handle. Most of the time, the tree doesn’t surpass our shoulders.

We tease each other about our various likes and set out for the search for the perfect one. I usually ooh and awe at Michael’s strong muscles as he chops down the perfect tree. Our sister Sarah has a fun time managing to take ridiculous pictures of us all.

When we’ve found our perfect trees, we’ll drive to our favourite beach and enjoy a hearty lunch and then deliver Michael’s parents’ tree to their house. Sometimes we’ll pop in for a tea by the fire before heading home.

Then our decorating begins! It usually involves moving furniture around to fit the tree. Then we make it a special date night. Christmas music fills the house as we open all the little boxes holding our traditional memories. We relive our childhood as we share the meaning behind the pieces as we set out.

By the end of the night, we sit down and listen to a couple episodes from Stuart McLean’s, Vinyl Café Christmas Collection.

This begins our holiday traditions.

How about you? What is something you do to mark the beginning of your Christmas season? Do you get a real tree or use a fake one? What’s one of your cherished traditions?

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