Sunday, December 2, 2007

Tree hunting

I have a certain nostalgia for those December weekends in Colorado when my family would load up in the car, drive out into the middle of some forest service land with our tree-cutting permit and trudge across snowy hillsides in search of the perfect Christmas tree. Of course perfect for us meant scrunched up enough against a neighboring tree that we could cut the thing down guilt-free, assured that we weren’t detracting from the overall health of the forest. And that meant we usually got a rather scraggly Charlie Brown sort of tree.

I’d like to do that again one of these days with the boys, but for now we settle for a much more simplified, commercialized form of do-it-yourself tree cutting that still feels a lot more fun than buying a pine from some far-away tree farm out of a parking lot. For the past couple years, we’ve gone tree cutting at Lakeside Christmas Tree Farm in Crawford, Alabama, where we enjoy a tractor ride over to the little tree plantation, grab one of their little hand saws and hunt for the tree we want. They’ve got rows and rows of Leyland cypress and Virginia pine. We found a few Eastern red cedar (the one Christmas tree that’s actually native to the Chattahoochee Valley) left over from years when they were more popular and got one of those. They have a sort of perfect Christmas tree form and we don’t mind if the needles stick us just a bit as we’re decorating.

We decorated the tree while we drank cocoa and sang along to Perry Como Christmas carols, another relic from my childhood. Will’s method for ornament hanging involves ignoring those pesky hoops and hooks and simply placing the ornament on a branch, where it either finds a little balanced place to rest or tumbles straight to the floor. Already our tree seems plenty full of ornaments but I’m looking forward to gradually building up a big collection of Will and Owen hand-painted, hand-glued ornaments – the kind of crude eyesores that you treasure most.

Two Santas and an elf relax after a hard day’s work.

No comments: