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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Why I love Christmas

As you dont know, we put up our Christmas tree today, and I was thinking about all the work and frustration that goes into trying to make Christmas special...

Getting the Christmas Tree
For us it starts on Thanksgiving weekend at my in-laws. They live in a teency tiny town in the middle of nowhere-Idaho on a farm. Every year we go cut a tree from the mountains to use for Christmas trees. The fresh trees just smell so good and "supposedly" getting the tree is 1/2 the fun. Basically we drive for 30 mins to a spot where the trees are. With kids in the car, it feels more like 30 years, but 200 "look at the cows", "look at the horses" later we finally get there. Then we spend the next hour looking at 500 trees all over the mountainside, all of which look exactly the same. Its cold, the mountain is rough, the kids think its fun till they fall one time. Then finally, one hour later we eventually cut the tree that is 5 feet from the car and which we looked at when we first arrived.

Anyway, after that whole chaotic weekend of Turkey-Potatoes-Stuffing-Gluttony we come home to our warm house and fool ourselves into thinking we can sleep off everything we just ate that weekend by going to bed early.

Putting up the Christmas Tree
That was Saturday. Today we got to put up the Christmas Tree. It was a piece of rock-hard cake. Thanks to the brilliant designers of tree stands it was the most frustrating 45 minutes of my life. I walked outside to the tree and just reached through all the pine needles, sap, and stray branches and grabbed the tree by the trunk. Of course I ended up breaking the very branches that made the tree "the one" by doing this, but I figure a few years down the road, my wife and kids will eventually stop saying "Remember that time Dad totally made our Christmas tree look like crap?". After losing hundreds of needles by trying to get it through the front door of the house, I gently slid it into the tree stand which wasnt too bad, but who the heck designed the tree-holder-screws to be WAY too small for their holes? I figure it was either a complete moron or else a complete moron. I actually had to get the vice grips so that I could turn the tree-holder-screws around so that they would screw against the trunk to hold the tree up. Once I finally got all 4 screw-things in, I told Amy to let go. And voila!, it started tipping to one side. We quickly grabbed the tree and stood it back up while I went back underneath the sappy needle-dropping monstrosity and redid all the screws. Finally, after all that, it stayed standing up. I only had minor scrapes on my arms, 2 of my fingers were stuck together with sap, and I only had 3-4 pine needles which had fallen down the back of my shirt. But the tree looked great.

Decorating the Tree
This part was the easiest. The light strands and tinsel and beads went around fairly easily. The kids fought about who gets to hold and play with what decorations etc. But it didnt take us long to get it all decorated.

Christmas Magic
The first time you plug in the lights is inspiring. Its wonderful. When it finally got dark at night we turned off all the lights and just stared at the tree. It was gorgeous. The pine smells great. The kids love it. The snow started to fall today, and the Christmas music finally felt like it was supposed to be playing. After all that mess,.... the tree, the smell, the music, and our family, all in one room, finally brought Christmas into our home and it was so nice and peaceful.

And thats what I love about Christmas.

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