It is the quiet of the evening after a day of Thanksgiving. The house is silent except for the ticking of the clock in the dining room and the rumble of the train on the tracks a mile or so from the house.
I sit here wanting to get up and start to put away the fall decorations and pull out the Christmas decorations in the dining room. I don’t want to disturb those sleeping and yet my mind is full of a wonderful day, thoughts of what tomorrow will bring and memories of Christmases past.
We have had a tradition that the day after Thanksgiving is the day we picked out our Christmas tree. It started the year my hubby was doing an isolated tour of duty. Friends took the girls and I to a tree farm in the rural part of San Diego. We picked out a tree and had it cut. Up to that point we had an artificial tree which worked fine. It was on its last legs and it was natural looking complete with leaning off to a side.
After that time of visiting the tree farm, it became a family tradition. Each Friday after Thanksgiving we would drive an hour out of the city and pick out our tree. At that time we reserved the tree and returned a couple of weeks later to pick it up, take it home and decorate it.
The day after Thanksgiving was the day that heralded the beginning of Christmas to us. We would get up early, put on Christmas sweaters and pile the girls into the car. We always played a cd (yes, it was that long ago) of a Disney Christmas tape. It was not a high brow tape, it was the characters singing songs and it was delightful. We would sing along and hubby would give me glances that were a mix of loving it all and hating the cd’s sound.
The music played all the way out. When we arrived at the tree farm, the girls would go one way and hubby and I the other. It took us over an hour to pick a tree, mainly because we all played a game where we would each disappear and then we had to find one another. Usually, we had each picked out a tree we liked and figured we would remember where it was when we got back together. Hubby would measure it and make certain the trunk was straight. (Mine never are, I still pick out crooked trees!). Then the arguments would start. We would not like something about each tree. And then, we would forget who picked out the tree the previous year. It was great fun.
When the girls were little we would picnic after reserving the tree. There was a park across from the tree farm and I would pack leftover turkey sandwiches and hot chocolate and the girls would play on the equipment at the park. There was a set of a circular monkey bars and when we started going to the tree farm our oldest was just able to climb over the monkey bars, our youngest could not. Through the years we saw the girls master the monkey bars and then the picnics stopped. We then went to lunch at a little cafe down the road from the farm.
We did this until the girls started to move away, or their schedule could not fit ours. The last visit we made to the farm was six years ago. It was just hubby and I. We drove the hour, listened to nice Christmas music and it took us five minutes to decide on a tree. It was a bittersweet experience for us as the trees echoed memories of laughter and squeals and discussions of which tree to get. The fun had grown up and started their own lives.
Now, we are across the country, and trying to find new traditions. We have searched Christmas tree farms and may try one this year. Our oldest will go back to her home in San Diego and in another week go to our old tree farm. She and her boyfriend and his daughter have started carrying on the tradition of the tree farm. I am blessed that it means enough to her to continue it.
So, I sit here on the night after a holiday, reflecting on the joys of seasons past. The parade of memories is strong and it pulls my heart down many paths of my memory scrapbook.
Christmas is a time to remember. A time of making new memories to remember later. A time for family, faith, friends. A time to be thankful for what we have and whom we have in our lives. Thanks for sharing this time with me. DAF