Memories Trim the Christmas Tree

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Two types of people surface during the Christmas season: those who love real trees and those who prefer one that sits in the attic year-round.

Guests placed gifts under a Christmas tree at our summertime wedding. We called it the wedding tree, a 14-foot Scotch pine with silver ribbon, heart ornaments and glass balls containing childhood photos. Mom deserves credit for the idea, which married my enjoyment of Christmas trees with the traditional gift table. Two types of people surface during the Christmas season: those who love real trees and those who prefer one that sits in the attic year-round. My groom, an artificial tree keeper by upbringing, knew compromise was ahead.

I love to hunt through the rows of trees and find a real evergreen to add cheer and natural fragrance to my living room. He wants to search no farther than the Rubbermaid tote in the walk-in closet and have more time to watch holiday movies. We have owned a real tree every Christmas of our marriage. In return, I allow his preference for colored lights.

The first test of our marriage traditions came with our first Christmas together. My husband reminds everyone of the time he had to cut a board from the garage wall to solidify the “cheap tree stand” he claims I purchased. We used the same stand in my childhood, but telling your new husband how his father-in-law does the job only intensifies a stressful situation. I bought an extra heavy-duty stand on clearance at the next post-holiday sale.

The tree experiences from my marriage and childhood could rival the incidents in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We once cut an evergreen from our yard to thin the windbreak. Another time, Dad climbed a tree in the neighboring woods to “top it out.”

I was in junior high when we cut a blue spruce for our family Christmas – only we didn’t know it was a blue spruce – an expensive tree typically not used for Christmas – until the tree farm owner informed us the tree was supposed to be permanent. We have stuck with pine ever since.

My husband and I, yet to celebrate a decade of marriage, already have stories about when the tree fell, when the stand ran out of water and when the needles caused a $60 repair to my vacuum cleaner.

Even with all the mishaps, creating memories for our kids still remains the motivation for me to move the car seats to the pickup truck and venture to a local tree farm.

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