The family went out into the fields of Jones Family Farms just two weeks before Christmas. The holiday was coming up fast and furious and we NEEDED TO GET A TREE IMMEDIATELY!!! It was snowing when we woke up and was supposed to keep it up throughout the day so we rolled out of bed and wrangled everyone into warm clothes and into the car and drove out to Shelton.
It’s beautiful there. Over 300 acres of trees, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and pumpkins during the growing season. I’ve been honored to spend some time with the patriarch of the family during my day job and I have no problem forking over $65 for the pleasure of tromping around their fields in the snow and ice to slaughter a tree. We live in the middle of a city on .07 of an acre so it’s quite a change to see just trees all the way to the rolling horizon.
Due to the snow there weren’t nearly as many people out in the fields as one would have expected so close to the holiday. It was a welcome change from the chaos that it’s been some years. I was the one to find The Tree. It’s a bit lopsided and kinda looks like the top of one tree was grafted onto the bottom of another, but it was still the one. Sy chopped it down, it was his turn. Mal, being the stubborn teenager that he is, carried it out of the field all by himself, hoisting it onto his shoulder. We stuffed it in the trunk and drove slowly home in the snow. It was a beautiful trip if a bit nerve-wracking due to the deteriorating road conditions.
So after all that nonsense to secure the tree we still didn’t get it decorated until three days before Christmas. It was driving me insane. Here was this huge tree in the middle of our tiny living room with no lights and only a couple of random ornaments on it that the kids stuck there for lack of a better place to put them. Cassie, home for her first holiday since she started college, was barricaded in her room with a new computer conquering the world of Civilization. Sofie was underfoot as always, nagging to either decorate the tree or play Minecraft with Mal. Sy and I were bouncing off each other and the walls trying to get everything from laundry to deep cleaning and present wrapping done with the clock always ticking in the background. So just three days to go and we all pulled everything together. In a few hours the house went from messy and plain to a kitschy wonderland with a decorated tree, snowflakes hanging from the ceiling and a Christmas pig in the window. It’s just not the holidays without the pig.
We’re a household of atheists but we all love Christmas. It’s a time to come together as a family, step out of our heads and think hard and long about just what treasure would bring a smile to each others faces. It’s not about the gifts but we live frugally and this is the one time of year we tend to be a bit extravagant, with time as well as money. We really shouldn’t need an excuse to spend more time together but life gets in the way and time has a nasty habit of passing by so quickly. But for this moment, for this holiday, we all put on our nice clothes, crank the holiday heat to 68° and welcome the extended family to our home. We eat good food, nosh on cookies and revel in gifts we would never buy for ourselves. No we’re not celebrating the official Reason for the Season but we are celebrating being alive and being together. I couldn’t ask for anything more.