I entered a contest today to win a Green Valley Christmas tree. You can find the contest and enter it yourself at the fabulous Mommy Musings blog http://www.mommymusings.com/green-valley-christmas-trees-giveaway/comment-page-1/#comment-22295. But just entering the contest brought up a whole range of emotions for me.
My dad resisted an artificial tree until he really became very sick and he wasn’t able to go choose a tree on his own. He loved going out and tree hunting, and he loved the smell. But I think what he loved most of all is that it was something the whole family did together to kick off the Christmas season. My sister and I would bundle up and head out with him, making the annual pilgrimage to find the perfect tree. For my dad, perfect was not an appearance thing. The first thing that made it perfect was that he only bought a tree from a charitable organization – boy scouts, a local fire company, the Moose Lodge, who was using the proceeds for a children’s hospital. It didn’t matter how bad the tree was, if the money spent was going to help someone else have a Merry Christmas, we were buying it. And the second thing that made it perfect was the amount of laughter it elicited from my sister and I. We had Christmas trees that would make the Charlie Brown tree look lush and healthy, but if Bean and I laughed our heads off when my dad pulled them out among the hundreds on a tree lot, that tree was coming home with us.
Having a real tree in the house always brought such happy memories for me. Memories of my dad and those Christmas tree treks from my childhood. The smell and the sticky pine on my fingers is the real meaning of home and family during the holidays.
I have to admit, we’ve had a pre-lit artificial tree for about five years now. This year, a whole string of the lights are dead. I am finally seeing my darkened path back to a real tree. And it can’t come quickly enough.