Our family has a day-after-Thanksgiving tradition. It involves festive hats, Christmas carols, a car wreath, and generally a tree that won't fit easily into the tree stand. That's right, we load up the kiddos to go cut the family Christmas tree. This is one tradition that has rarely been missed and dates back to the first Christmas that Steve and I spent as a young married couple.
Many special tree cutting days stand out to me. I remember Mikaela's first year with us. I carried her around in a little front carrier, as she was only two months old. I remember the first year that Jacob carried the saw, the "prickly Christmas" when Joseph grabbed a cactus and got pricklies all over. Then there was the year that we were going to skip cutting the tree that Friday because Joseph was sick with the flu. Unfortunately for Joseph it started snowing and I just couldn't miss the opportunity, so we took him...sick and all. There was Maimie's first trek out to the Christmas tree farm, and so many others.
But this year, we -gasp!- broke with tradition. I had to be practical this year. It really makes no sense to try to keep a live tree watered while we are gone for over two weeks right before Christmas. Then there's the fire hazard thing. And when you get right down to it, I didn't want the mess of tossing it out and cleaning it up 2 days after returning home from China. So we grabbed the artificial tree out of the basement and set it in "the spot".
Instead of sitting around not cutting a tree, we went out to brunch and the movie Tangled (a rare treat). That evening we ate our traditional homemade pizza and decorated the tree. This year's tree may not be as full, fragrant, or lifelike, but as the kids unwrapped each of their ornaments- both store bought and homemade- it began to feel like Christmas.
And next year on the day after Thanksgiving, there will be 7 of us trekking out through the Christmas tree farm to find our traditional family tree. But many sweet family memories will remain in our hearts of this Christmas... the Christmas that wasn't traditional in many ways...the Christmas that God expanded our family and our hearts to include one of His special blessings, our little Saidie.