Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas-16 Years in the Making

It's tradition. Growing up, we would decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. My mom would bring all the boxes out of the garage. We would turn on Canadian Brass Christmas music. And we would decorate the tree and house all day. Then, we could enjoy the season for a month or more. It's tradition.

Well, tradition sort of goes out the window when you turn 18 and move to college. It's hard enough to fit two girls and their wardrobes into a college dorm room, let alone a Christmas tree. But that's ok. I would go home for Christmas. When I finally moved up in the world (i.e., rented a room instead of living on campus), again, my bed barely fit in that room. No Christmas tree that year. Oh well, I would go home for Christmas. When I moved to Yosemite, I lived in a dorm room again, with a roommate again. Although we couldn't fit a Christmas tree in our dorm room, we only had to look outside our window to see thousands of trees. It was alright, because I might be able to go home for Christmas. When Joe and I got married, we lived in a cabin-ette (named so because it was all of 125 square feet) to save money to buy a house. Let's just say that although I was very creative on my use of space, I couldn't get a tree in there. But again, we were surrounded by thousands of trees. And, we would go home for Christmas.

The first year we were in our own house, we started our own traditions. We had a huge Thanksgiving meal with 8 visitors. We hiked after the feast (to make room for pie), which is a tradition we have kept to this day. The day after, I just assumed that I would decorate for Christmas. Turns out that Joe had never grown up with Christmas. Never. Never had a Christmas tree. Never had a nativity scene. Money was very tight that first year in our own house, so we didn't have money for a tree anyway. Oh well, I would go home for Christmas and see mom's tree. The next year, I bought three little decorative trees and used those for our Christmas tree. The following year, I was 9 months pregnant (Jack was born on Christmas Eve) and even I didn't feel like decorating that year. The following year found us in our second home, with a one-year old, and me 7 months pregnant (again). To say that I was exhausted would be an understatement. And even if I had wanted to decorate, our kitchen was demolished, awaiting remodeling. It was alright, because we were going home for Christmas.

The following year, we had a one-year old and a two-year old. Boys. Do I dare decorate? Would everything we broken in a week? I used the little decorative trees and kept all ornaments to cloth. Repeat the following year. Now the boys are 3 and 4. They are a little calmer now. Little bit. Do I dare dream to decorate?

I looked at tree prices. Have you bought a tree lately? Christmas tree sales alone could be enough to stimulate our economy. $70 for real?! $150 for fake?! I won't be spending that much on presents, let alone a tree! Many of our friends and neighbors had been telling us how they got their own trees. I thought that was something people did in movies. You know, like Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation. The more we talked to our friends, the more it sounded do-able.

The permit was only $15 and basically the whole mountain is in-bounds. We drove up Porter Mountain road to the same spot where we collected our firewood. We got out of the van a couple of times, thinking we had seen the perfect tree. We fanned out and searched each time. Once, we did have a Chevy Chase, Christmas Vacation moment. We found the perfect tree. The light shone down upon it. The angels were singing. But....it was behind a barbed wire fence. Back in the van. Keep looking. Jump out of van. Fan out. Search. On our last search, we came to a berm. I noticed that the small (10 footers) grow near the edges of the forest, near the clearings. So, I walked to the berm. On the other side, was a frozen pond. We had so much fun throwing rocks and logs onto the pond. Turns out there was a perfect tree there.

We walked back to the van to get the chainsaw. The boys rode their bikes around the forest. We thanked God for the tree and then........TIMBER! We made it home just fine, as were only 15 minutes away, in the forest. In the forest, it looked small. When we got it into the living room, however, it was scraping the ceiling (and we have tall ceilings). Out to the backyard to chop off 2 feet. She now stands tall and pretty in our living room. The product of a new tradition. I am home for Christmas.

where Glory meets my suffering