Tears were streaming down my face I was laughing so hard. The kids too were rolling in their seats. The expressions we saw on faces we passed on the highway that day were priceless. Our tree, tied to the top of our car, could have been featured in Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Even I wondered if the permit attached to its trunk was necessary.
By the time we got home all the pine needles and many of the branches had been stripped of the tree. A skeleton was all that remained. There was magic that year when we decorated the tree. I’m not sure what possessed us to choose a dead one, but the kids and I were in agreement. Perhaps we wanted to make a statement, but more likely we were just being silly.
Growing up, my dad had a rule that we had to pick a tree growing among a group. This would give the other trees some breathing room, allowing them to thrive. There wasn’t one in the batch that wasn’t spindly, lopsided or had huge gaping holes. That was part of their charm.
Cutting a Christmas tree remains one of my favorite traditions. We try to select thoughtfully, but a year doesn’t pass that I don’t juxtapose my environmental concerns with chopping down a tree. They seem to conflict, but there’s reason I continue this tradition. I think to have empathy and reverence for our planet we need to spend time in nature. This tradition takes me and my family into the woods. Beyond the laughter, fun and sweet memories of that day, our love for the natural world is enriched.
The picture above was taken on another year when I went into the woods with my mom, step dad and children to cut a tree. The smiles say it all. Some traditions are just worth keeping, but I’m still saying the dead one was the best Christmas tree ever.
The comment Sally left in this post inspired me to share this story. I love how Sally thoughtfully keeps the spirit in Christmas.