Our Christmas Tree Farm is a giant asphalt lot at the show grounds two minutes from home, where I take my kids to the fair each spring and where we contended for parking with a gem show Sunday when we went to redeem our Groupon on the tree.
To me, tree shopping is one of those classic holiday rituals that never happens how others say it should, how it happens in movies and books, or even how you play it out in your mind the morning you wake up to go. This year was no exception. First, we were in a parking lot. And then of course, an hour later my hands were black with sap and dirt, my hair a mess from the branches, I’d fought with my clippers, the tree stand and three strands of lights, then vacuumed, swept and finally chose a shower and bed over the rum drink I’d pictured myself capping the night with earlier that day.
But the moments on site this year were fun. It wasn’t too hot, it wasn’t too cold; no one hurt themselves. Yes Isaac complained that I “had to take pictures” and threatened to sit in the car. Yes Fran couldn’t take her eyes off the bouncy house, but they wound up letting their gripes go and chased each other through the firs, hid within the branches and turned against me and my camera once I caught on and came their way. I know there won’t be many more years of this. In the small picture that is my son’s age, but more so in the larger picture of life. Getting the Tree: it doesn’t really happen all that much.
I hope these images continue to remind me that there is no “supposed to” when it comes to a holiday ritual. This year, sure it was hectic, but I got to take pictures of Francesca in a stunning, pink dress. I got to hear my teenager squeal and chase his sister through aisles of trees. Maybe one day these pictures will remind me of being a passionate photographer, of how I got to share my stories on a really cool blog, of my daughter who was always so eager to dress up. And that that, even if isolated to this one year, would be our special tradition.