On a recent visit to a Christmas tree farm one of life’s rites of passage was reviled to me. As you read my story as a parent you have either already reach this point or it’s in your future.
The weather has been unusually mild and western Pennsylvania has somehow been overly blessed with sunshine. November is typically cool, damp and generally dreary. Christmas decorations are a welcome bit of cheer. This December has us confused with temperatures that require long-sleeved shirts but no coat and where is the snow?
Back to the Christmas tree farm. The tree farm is only three miles from our home. The sun was shining the day of our visit. It was light jacket weather and we were feeling good about buying our tree from a local business. My husband and fourteen year old daughter were with me.
At the tree farm families were loaded on to hay wagons and transported to distant pine tree fields. We watched tractors returning with wagons filled with people and Christmas trees. My family opted to walk on this fine day. We encountered several groups of people walking among the trees. Children were running up to giant trees, trees so large that only public buildings could display them indoors. Their parents would smile and say ,not that one. Somehow my family and I have lost that excitement those children who long for tall majestic trees still possessed.
We quickly settled on a slim six foot tall Douglas fir. It would fit in our living room nicely. The only thing we would have to move would be the dog’s bed. No furniture would need to be rearranged. I know! What dull people we have become and I’m sorry to say it gets worse….
When we got home my husband promptly placed the tree in its stand. I watered the tree and wrapped it in two sets of new lights I purchased the day before. My daughter placed a leftover Halloween crow near the top of the tree. Two days later the tree still looks the same, basically undecorated. Considering I still have pumpkins and other fall decorations out, the clash with Christmas tinsel might be a bit much to take in…
I’ve come to believe that it is the excitement of young children that gives Christmas that extra sparkle. Christmas has changed for me into something new. I now understand the people whose homes seem under decorated for the season. I believe they must feel what I’m feeling, the lost of that young excited energy in their home.
Maybe teenagers also feel the loss; this would explain my daughter’s mood. She is a bit of a humbug this year. I have two grown children on their own, one teenager at home and me at the midpoint of my life; it’s time to redefine Christmas in my home. As I said at the beginning, many have already gone through this experience and for those of you, who have not reached this point in life, enjoy this Christmas because it is special.
by Jill Eudaly
photo by Jill Eudaly