Sunday, December 20

The Christmas Tree

Oh, we had a bit of an adventure getting our Christmas tree this year.  We traveled forty-five minutes north to a Christmas tree farm to find that 90% of their trees were white pine and the other 10% were only five feet tall.  We almost chose one, but the price was a bit high to come home with a tree that we didn't like.  So after over an hour of exploring the tree farm we left empty handed.  We stopped at Lowes on the way home and in five minutes had chosen a beautiful fir tree.  I did so love the idea of supporting a local farm.  [Sigh.]  Maybe next year.

We came home and decorated our tree with lights and strung popcorn and cranberries over the next couple days.  I also made a new star out of branches painted gold.  Ours fell apart a couple years ago.  I was excited to try out a blessing of the tree this year that I found in The Year and Our Children.  So Tuesday night we enjoyed some hot cocoa and apple danish and read the blessing of the tree together before decorating the tree.  The blessing is a short service with several scripture readings.  It ties together the ideas of the Jesse tree (Isaiah 11), the trees of the wood shouting for joy (Psalm 95) and being branches grafted into Christ (Ezekiel 17:22-24).  The whole service takes ten minutes and it is a lovely way of turning tree decorating into a deeply meaningful activity.

A couple years ago we tried waiting till the 23rd to decorate the tree, but I think we've settled on a mid-December decorating.  We will add candy canes, trinkets, cards and goodies on Christmas Eve after the boys are in bed.  We will also add tinsel on the night before Christmas after the boys are in bed.  The tinsel is the stringy kind that goes all over the tree and makes it look magical.  It isn't the sort of thing I would typically buy (it is a plastic of some sort), but we found an unopened package in our Christmas boxes out of storage when we returned to the states.  It had never been opened (I think someone passed it on to us) and we decided to use it last year.  I'm totally enamored with it and fairly certain that waking to a tinseled tree on Christmas morning is a tradition that is here to stay.  It is a lovely way of having the tree be different and more magical through the twelve days of Christmas even though most of the decorating happens earlier in the month.