This is our tree. Our lovely, Charlie Brown-inspired tree. And this year we cut our tree down on our very own property. A dream come true.
This Charlie Brown tree tradition began way back in 2006 when Miles was sill in diapers. Can you believe I have been blogging that long? Me either. But this is why I blog – to remember.
I managed to capture the hunts of 2007 and 2009 but missed the others. Of course last year we only a had a chalkboard tree, and a few times we had the vintage white tree, but most years, since 2006, we have gone the route of cutting down our own tree.
Sometimes we find one on my grandparents property, sometimes on Jeanetta’s, or at my in-laws… But this year, oh this blessed wonderful year, we got to cut our own tree down on our own Preservation Acres!
Originally we had plans to turn the whole event into a family photo shoot with my sister Jemimah, but her plans were interrupted by a big surprise (more on that soon!) so, the guys and I just went with the flow, and decided to cut our tree down anyway. Miles (always looking for a way to participate on his own terms) decided to record the whole thing. I really hope that we can figure out how to edit what he shot into a fun little video.
Sweet Man and Wylie were in charge of cutting down the tree, which the boys both declared “too small,” but which I knew – from experience and from multiple cautionary viewings of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation would be just the right height.
(Remember, perspective is everything, and outside a decent size tree can look REALLY small next to a bunch of mature trees.)
I had already scooped out all the possible candidates on the farm for this year and I just knew this was THE tree, so we went with it.
Because I always pick the funniest, patchiest, young trees it doesn’t take a big saw to cut them down. No power tools here. Just a blade that looks like a glorified bread knife and a whole lot of arm power.
Want to know an additional perk of cutting down your own tree on your own farm? No worrying about tying it to the car or making sure you have a truck. Dragging it across the yard will is all the transportation needed, and this way gets out a lot of the bugs still hanging around the branches.
Oh, yes, and the puppies “helped” every step of the way as well.
Back at the barn, Sweet Man and Wylie built a base for the tree, while Miles and I made brunch.
Once the base was finished and attached, they brought it inside and set it up for me in the empty space in the living room where the piano will go eventually. All in all, including a break for brunch, the whole project took about 2 hours, which is amazing to me.
Later that night the boys and I watched the movie The Santa Clause 2 (can you believe I had never seen any of them until this year?) while we decorated the branches with 17 years worth of ornaments and drank egg nog till our tummy’s hurt.
Including this gem which I guess my mother or Nana passed on to me recently. This must be my first grade picture – the year I cut my own hair and was missing my two front teeth. Oh lawdy, I was a hot mess.
I just love our tree in all it’s imperfect, wonky beauty. To me it looks like what Christmas feels like.
It is a mess and it is amazing. It is thin in places and heavy in others. It is filled with a mixture of simple and fine, glittering and plain, handmade and store-bought, new and old, things treasured and things forgotten. It has stories to tell and secrets to keep, and on every branch there is a tale of something that has ended, and something that has begun, there are moments of hope and moments of loss, and they all hang together, illuminated by twinkling lights that pierce the dark.
Each night when I head to bed, I stop and look at our tree, and every night I am still amazed that we were able to walk out our back door and tromp around on our own property to find it. In spite of all the mummering I do about the lack of this or how hard that is during this season, I cannot escape the miracles of change that this year has brought for our family.
Patchy, irregular, unexpected, miraculous, shining, precious. Our tree is all these things. And so is our life. And right there, at that intersection is where I find Christmas in the midst of all. Right in the homespun beautimess of it all.
Peace and love my friends, peace and love.