Our house smells like pine! Mmmmm.....nothing smells as good as a Christmas tree! Real pine, with sticky sap to dot your hands and the occasional dropped needle is the best - reminds you that the stuff in the Pine-Sol bottle is not pine you really want to smell!
Although we got our tree from a 'U-Cut' farm again this year, we did get it from a different farm than we have in the past several years. There was hot chocolate and Santa was there and they passed out candy canes...it was fun. But to me, the best part was that they had one of those machines to shake the crap - literally - out of the tree! Stray, brown needles went flying and, more importantly, any and all tiny, buggy critters as well! Then, our tree was wrapped in twine and loaded in our truck - that was a first for us, but boy did it make it easier to deal with once we got it home. Windy Hill Tree Farm in Ridgefield, WA has made me a customer for life!
Sunday evening was all about decorating at our house. Although December is my husband's fave month (after the 3 summer months, that is), he's never really been interested in the actual decorating aspect of Christmas, so my daughter and I dug right in, as usual. I have to admit, putting the lights on the tree is one of those chores like balancing your checkbook...the thought of doing it is waaaay worse than actually doing it. And, once it's done, you realize it wasn't all that bad afterall! But always, the best part is getting out all of the wonderful ornaments. We have so many special ornaments, that the plain, colored balls from some 25-odd years ago have fallen into the background and get used as 'filler' deep inside the tree - for extra sparkle - if they get hung at all. Not only do I buy my daughter an ornament every year, but my mom does as well (she buys me one too!). So each year, our collection grows by at least three, specially chosen ornaments. Stupidly, we've never thought to date each one on the bottom or wherever - so now that my daughter is 14, it can be hard to remember the exact year each ornament was recieved :-( But it does give us something to chat about every year as each sparkling gem is unwrapped and hung on a limb to shine for yet another season. Best of all, those new ornaments get to hang among all the special, dare I say 'vintage' (my childhood ornaments are vintage?!?!) decorations and ornaments. Just as shown above in the photo...that's my daughter's newest chosen glass-blown ornament, right next to my childhood elf, now 44 years old. What an awesome feeling it was to see them right next to each other on our tree.....
What is it about a Christmas tree that makes a home seem so warm....is it the glow of the colorful lights? Is it the sparkle and twinkle of the glass-blown ornaments? Maybe it's the mere idea and tradition that the tree brings. All I know is that our home feels different once the tree and decorations go up - and it's such a good feeling - One of childlike antipation. Christmas does bring out the child in all of us!
Yes, there is nothing like the Christmas tree to bring it all together. The Christmas tree is such an important part of our celebration that it so pains me to hear it called a 'Holiday tree'. It's not a holiday tree...it IS a Christmas tree! A decorated pine tree with tinsel and lights and ornaments IS a Christmas tree! Why would calling a Christmas tree, a Christmas tree be offensive to anyone? Are we gonna start calling a Jewish Menorah or a Kinara used for Kwanzaa a holiday candelabra? I'm not thinkin' so...! We gonna call a Dreidel a holiday top? Can you imagine the uproar if we did! Let's just call things what they are.....let us all have our traditions as they are....as they were meant to be.
Here's hoping your home is aglow in all the warm and loving tradtions of your own family, be they spiritually based, or not. One way or another, just dive in to the jingly season and enjoy it for all it's worth!