Hello, my name is Jill, and I’m a Tree-Snob. Maybe one day I’ll ask for help. Not this year (although I have been tested recently). Los Angeles is famous for being the capital of all-things enhanced and phony (bodies, hair, and come holiday-time… Christmas trees). But blame the small-town, Fresno, CA-raised me: I NEED A REAL TREE FOR CHRISTMAS. (I imagine that environmentalists everywhere hate me. I apologize.) Every year, at the very mention of getting a real tree, my husband tells me to just “be normal” and buy a plastic one. Some extended family members have even hit me with eye-rolls at my mere mention of taking my daughters to pick out a live tree at our local lot. Does anyone realize that it’s not all about the actual TREE?
The fragrance. The messy needles. The inconvenient effort. The tradition. I. NEED. IT. This is something that goes waaaay back for me that I can’t seem to let go of. Maybe it’s because I now live 300 miles away from my hometown and I’m searching for sentiment this time of year? Growing up, my family made an event out of going to the same lot every year and picking OUR tree. We’d get our coats on, load in the car, drive up to blasting holiday music and colorful Christmas lights strung across the lot and then we’d run up and down the same dirt aisles of what seemed like miles and miles of towering green forests so that my sister and I could search for the PERFECT one to take home. I still remember the smell of the huge flocking tent right at the entrance. And then there was the fast-talking lot owner (who also happened to be one of my parents’ friends) who’d run up to us and convince us that he’d saved the ‘good’ trees in the back just for us (yeah…. riiiiiiight). I know this sounds like cheesy small-town stuff, but it’s all true. It was the same thing every year. The anticipation. The sights. The people. The smells. Every year, same time of year. And as much as I enjoy this digital day and age, silly small-town stuff like taking your family to pick out a Christmas tree seems more and more IMPORTANT. Tradition is IMPORTANT. Family time and creating memories are IMPORTANT. Making the effort to do things out of the ordinary during the holidays is IMPORTANT.
Picking out a real tree every year – with your kids, no matter how young – is not time-consuming or complicated (ok, maybe it is). But if it’s special to you (like it is to me), then it’s IMPORTANT. It’s also FUNNY to experience two pink toddlers (bundled up like Eskimos) weave through the tall trees and vehemently point and yell “CHRIST-MAS TREE!!!” while the high-school sales staff giggles at the sight. As adults, we sometimes forget experiences year to year… but kids will grow and remember. And I’ll remember. It’s one of those little things that bring me happiness as a mom. This year, my 3-year old GOT it, and she had the final say of which tree we picked (after I narrowed down the right sizes, of course). We took our annual picture once we selected our tree… and it just makes me happy to know that this is something that my girls and I have been doing together since they were each born. To date, we’ve got 4 pictures to show for it (the first experience/picture was back in 2010 when my older girl was just two months old… I took her by myself to the lot and started this yearly tradition).
As a mom, I’m now leaning on my childhood memories and traditions to serve as a springboard for creating new ones. It’s MY TURN to instill traditions. If I have to take my girls by myself, every single year, to experience what I hold so near and dear to my heart (even as a grownup)… I WILL. Even if my own husband and some extended family members don’t understand the greater sentiment of it all. And most of the time, you get free candy canes.
WHAT HOLIDAY TRADITIONS DO YOU FIGHT FOR?