Hallmark movies and television shows have glamorized Christmas tree hunting, but every family has their special memories and traditions.
Since we live a residential area in a suburb of Rochester, there is no way that we can take a saw and walk into the woods to find our tree. We could travel by car to a tree farm, but when my children were little we had the magic of Christmas happen right in our neighborhood.
Each fall a small lot within walking distance of our home would start the set up to become our magical “Christmas tree forest,” as the kids and I called it. When Kristina and JP were very young we would bundle them up to prepare for the trip. JP would be in the stroller and Kristina in the wagon and we’d walk to the Christmas tree forest. Along the way we had Christmas carols playing on our little cassette tape player and we sang along.
Once we arrived, we were greeted by a large mechanical Santa and rows and rows of trees. Lights were strung around our forest and Santa was handing out candy canes. There we searched until we found “our” tree. Once we paid the gentleman, we strapped the tree to the wagon and the walk home began.
This tradition continued for several years. Every year about Thanksgiving time, as the kids and I waited at the corner for the school bus, our excitement began to mount. We could see trailers of trees being unloaded in our soon to be forest.
The Christmas tree business has since ceased at that corner, but we have begun a new tradition. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, black Friday has become our “green Friday.” JP and I (and Kristina when she’s not working) head to a local farm market. There we look at the decorations for sale, the poinsettias, have a hot chocolate or coffee, take photos for our Christmas card, and search for our tree.
When we get home, we set the tree in the stand and we begin to decorate the house. Once the tree is warmed up we put the lights on (an often frustrating job…”which bulb is out?! Why isn’t this section lit?!”) and we begin to decorate. The decorations aren’t fancy, but they are precious because they hold memories of family, friends and past Christmases. Our tree has some of my parent’s ornaments and 39 years of memories our family has made. There are pictures of JP and Kristina, and decorations that they made in school. There is also an ornament that was made by a beloved neighbor, who has since passed away. Our tree is topped by an angel from my parent’s tree. My dad purchased it at Zack’s, the hardware/general store that was within walking distance of our home (this where many of our Christmas toys came from). So many memories fill our tree.
Although the tree is the focal point in our home, the focal point of the season and more importantly the focal point of our lives is Jesus Christ and the gift of forgiveness and new life that He has given us.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the World was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1: 1-14)