With Thanksgiving and Black Friday now in the rearview mirror, most Americans have turned to the task of putting up the Christmas tree.
I went walking a few weeks ago on several Christmas tree farms in the Edmond area, getting a first-hand glimpse of the calm before the storm. The fields were quiet, the sky blue, the air still warm. It was so peaceful, I wished I’d brought a picnic and a blanket. Last weekend, dozens of families trecked out to the farms to pick out a tree for the year. The fields no doubt turned noisy with the sounds of families calling out their favorite picks, saws on wood, the baler and shaker machines clanking out a rhythm as they completed their jobs.
But the week before, when calm still ruled, I pulled out my favorite live Christmas tree memory.
It was the second year of my now 14-year marriage and a friend let my husband and I come out to her property to cut down a tree. In the field, it looked like the perfect tree. The fact that it towered over our heads should have been our first clue. That it took three hours with a hand saw to fell it, should have been a very strong second clue that this tree was never going to fit in our house.
But we were young and naive. I was pregnant, so we had to enlist help to haul the tree to our car, hoist it to the roof and tie it down. We didn’t realize our error until we got the tree off the car and sized up our doorway. Then we knew we had a problem. This 9-foot tree was never going to fit in our living room. But we had slaved for this tree, it was by-golly going to fit.
We cut and trimmed until we had what resembled a giant cedar box. We then cut the trunk until it fit in our too-small tree stand. We stood the tree up and spent until 2 a.m. decorating it with every ornament, bit of tensil and string of lights we could find. Never mind that nothing matched. When I finally waddled to bed that morning, I was satisfied. We had the perfect tree.
When it came crashing down about 30 minutes later, breaking half of our ornaments, I sobbed.
After getting a stand reinforced with rebar and weighting the tree with dumbbells, it stood through Christmas (actually into February). Finally, when it became a fire hazard, a friend came and helped us haul it out.
My oldest daughter now has asthma, so gone are the days of live trees. But almost every year, a family member brings up the year of the giant cedar box and we laugh over the memory, like the Christmas treasure it is.
Hope you’re out their making some Christmas memories of your own.