My mom adventures in Fort Collins


Can you feel the Holiday Spirit?

I have had a blogging problem in that I haven’t been writing. Or reading! (Gasp!) November was a very problematic month for us because the germs seemed so prolific, and they would jump from household member to household member taking us down one by one. They even took hold of me in the form of Strep. Seriously, I hadn’t had Strep since college, and I’d like to go at least another 15 years without it because that is one nasty, horrible, awful bacteria that is not at all welcome in my throat. The damn Strep bacteria even caught up with my brother back in Minnesota after he’d spent 10 days visiting with us for Thanksgiving. Blasted germs!

But it is December now, and we’re moving on. With an aerosol spray of Lysol in hand if necessary.

With December comes an awful lot of Christmas cheer. I can’t explain why, but my kids think that Christmas comes immediately after Thanksgiving despite being informed of the facts time and time again. We have our Elf on the Shelf out, we have the stockings hung, the decor arranged strategically about the house, etc. And most importantly, we have our tree.

Getting our tree, now that is a fun story. Perhaps I could tell it in pictures?

This is a photo of my family tromping off into the forest in search of the perfect Christmas tree.

This is a photo of my family tromping off into the forest in search of the perfect Christmas tree.

This is my five-year-old holding a bow saw. She doesn't often hold a bow saw, but when the situation calls for it, she's willing.

This is my five-year-old holding a bow saw. She doesn’t often hold a bow saw, but when the situation calls for it, she’s willing.

There is a scenic vista here and there, but we can't waste our time because we have to hunt for the perfect tree.

There is a scenic vista here and there, but we can’t waste our time because we have to hunt for the perfect tree.

And we see a lot of trees. Not many (or any) perfect trees, but many trees that would rival Charlie Brown's.

And we see a lot of trees. Not many (or any) perfect trees, but many trees that would rival Charlie Brown’s.

But somehow, you get lucky (or rather, my husband gets lucky because by then I'm feeding the kids their snacks in the truck), and we bring home a tree that looks better than perfect. It's real, carried out of the woods on our shoulders (well, his shoulders), and still retains a number of pine cones. Oh, and the smell... Mmm.

But somehow, you get lucky (or rather, my husband gets lucky because by then I’m feeding the kids their snacks in the truck), and we bring home a tree that looks better than perfect. It’s real, carried out of the woods on our shoulders (well, his shoulders), and still retains a number of pine cones. Oh, and the smell… Mmm.

This has become a family tradition for us. I was not the one who instigated this deal, but I’m delighted that it’s here to stay and I’ve even come to embrace this tradition, pine needles sucked up in my vacuum cleaner and all. There are several different places where you can cut a tree, but one of the closest and least expensive options is on National Forest property at the Canyon Lakes Ranger Station near Red Feather Lakes. You can read more about that here, if you’re interested.

Personally, I do very little tree hunting. I like to let Cory determine our tree. I find that the forest full of (mainly) Lodgepole pines can create a distorted reality. Much like shopping at Costco, where buying a 5 lb. package of grape tomatoes suddenly seems like a good idea because everything in the store is of colossal proportions, I find that glancing at tree after scrawny tree can actually make you look at a half-way symmetrical 5 ft. tree with limp branches that wouldn’t hold an ornament weighing more than a coffee filter and say: “Yes, we’ll take it! That’s it! That’s the one!” My tree-cutting trips always prompt outlandish fantasies where we emerge from the forest victorious after a short walk into the woods of 20 minutes or less, with the kids never once complaining. Truthfully, when we exit every year, we bear witness to countless “better” trees tied tightly to the roofs of various Jeep Grand Cherokees. We’ve even seen Blue Spruces that I’m convinced are trekked in from a tree lot by the Subaru-owners simply to elicit envy from those of us who slaved for hours only to hunt down the exact same Lodgepole Pine that we passed six times and sat less than 20 feet from our parking spot. My expectations are skewed, and it now seems perfectly reasonable to cut down an 18 foot tree only to lop off parts of the top and a good 11 feet of the base to create a decent-looking tree out of the original tree’s mid-section. (That’s actually exactly what Cory did this year, and I think it’s our best tree yet.) And the kids, well, they do okay. Ritz crackers and clementines helped a lot this year.

But it does feel great to get this season started, doesn’t it? If you celebrate Christmas, what are some of your favorite traditions? And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, tell me something fun that I should be celebrating in addition to Christmas.

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4 Comments so far
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It’s all good, but it’s especially nice to actually converse with people this time of the year. You are much more likely to hear about what’s truly important in their lives instead of merely the cares of the day. Thanks for sharing!

Comment by mauriceabarry

I can tell that you are a person moved by the holiday spirit! So true, I will have to make time for more conversation this time of year. Yesterday, we got home and my five-year-old jumped out of the car to tell a neighbor “happy Christmas”(?) and we wound up chatting for a few minutes. Without the holiday greeting, I don’t know that that interaction would have happened. Thanks for commenting, and welcome to my blog!

Comment by jaymers

What a wonderful tradition (& your tree looks lovely!) We have many, but a new one is setting aside an evening to watch Andrea Bocelli’s Christmas concert special on DVD (a giftie) – whew. Gorgeous vocals, incredible guests – wide range of music (including The Muppets for the kids : ) Really uplifting. (We also comb PBS listings for Christmas concerts to record on the DVR for dinner viewings – helps get that holiday cheer going!)

grace, peace & Christmas music – Virginia : )

p.s. glad you are Over The Strep – what yucky Blahs that gives you, to be sure.

Comment by Virginia

I have never seen the Andrea Bocelli Christmas DVD, sounds like a winner. I’m going to check and see if the library has it! I personally can’t stop checking out the ridiculous ABC Family movies that I can stream from Netflix. Oh, and by the way, how sweet are you for your concern over my strep–I feel weird even mentioning it when you had the chronic back pain with a hospital visit involved. Seriously, you are a rock!

Comment by jaymers




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