Growing up, the day we got our Christmas tree was always a very special day. All of us would pile in our Jeep and drive to a Christmas tree farm that seemed so far away (probably about a half hour), deep in the forrest. We would drive down curvy roads with beautiful redwood trees all around us and sing along to Christmas music from our favorite tapes. The Christmas tree farm (neither mom nor I can remember the name!) was set right at the bank of a picturesque creek. The setting really made it feel like we were so far away, in a special Christmas world. All of us would wander the grounds and look for the perfect tree to cut down. Once a decision was made, the kids would run down to the water and hop on stones over the creek while mom and dad put the tree on the Jeep. The owners of the farm gave us all mini candy canes and some mistletoe when we checked out and then we began the long drive (30 minutes!) home. At home, mom put on more Christmas music (this time CDs!) and we sipped hot cocoa and munched on treats while she put the lights on the tree. Finally, when the lights were just right, we could start decorating the tree with our ornaments. Every year, we got to pick an ornament for our own special collection. It is so fun to look at those ornaments and remember what we were into those years. I have ice skaters, violins, sparkles and glitter. My sister has cats and horses. My brother's are snowmen and basketballs. I have continued this tradition for Lucia and am so excited to go pick an ornament with her this year. The last two years I have picked for her but this year she can pick for herself. These memories are so very special to me and I hope someday Lucia can look back on our Christmas traditions and remember them as fondly as I do.
Mom and me and Dad and me at Dos Pueblos Christmas tree farm, 1986
My siblings and I by the creek at the Christmas Tree Farm, 1999
Sometimes, I feel like there is pressure to "create" perfect memories for our children. Did our parents feel that same pressure? Can we blame Pinterest? Am I missing out on real moments while I stress out about "creating" perfect ones? Who knows. I try to plan fun activities for our family to do together and sometimes we take the camera and sometimes we don't. This post is a real post with real photos (complete with Target bags in the background) and moments from a special day in our household. Nothing is staged and the lighting is not perfect but we had a "perfect" day and created wonderful memories that I hope we all will cherish for years to come.
Although we live in the part of the country (the Evergreen State) where many Christmas trees are shipped from, we haven't found a place to chop down our own tree... yet. I know we can get a permit and find one on our own but I need a little more structure than that. There is a farm stand that we love to go to in Kent (Carpinito Brothers for locals) that does a sweet job of making pre-cut trees still feel special. This year, they had 2 reindeer as well as a camel named Moses. They also have warm apple cider and a small section of the farm stand is open with some late fall produce and holiday greenery for purchase.
It was a cold day but the sky was gorgeous
The sun's rays were piercing through the icy clouds
Lucia "up, up" on Dad's shoulders walking through the trees
Tied up and ready to go
Checking out the reindeer
And the camel named Moses
After dinner we (Alex) put the lights on and decorated the tree
Lucia was really into the lights. She thought they were so magical!
Dad's #1 Helper
Me 1986 & Lucia 2016
While we were decorating the tree, it began snowing outside (rare for Mercer Island)
We put on our snow gear and stepped outside for an impromptu walk in the snow
It was starting to build up as we walked to the store for some snow day treats
We grabbed some apple cider to warm up at home and some peppermint bark and eggnog gelatos because I couldn't resist or decide on one flavor
It was really coming down on our walk home
From a morning spent together looking for our tree and an evening of decorating together to the cherry on top with a snowy night, the day was perfect for us.
I hope your Christmas tree day this year is as magical as ours was!