Monday, January 4, 2021

A New Christmas Tradition?

We don't have many traditions in our family, but most of the few we do have happen at Christmas time. We often travel on other holidays and are rarely home for Easter and Thanksgiving, but we are always at home for Christmas. Lisa makes a traditional meal, the girls wear new dresses, and we visit the tree on display in the downtown area wherever we live. As far as trees, Lisa and I didn't put one up before kids. We lost Everett on December 7th and Christmas was a rough time for us. When Kellisa was born, my dad wanted to make sure she had a tree at home and bought us a small fiber optic tree which we used every year until it died. We did replace it to keep the tradition going...guess we have another one.

When Kellisa was 4 years old, we purchased an artificial tree that we used every year, but we threw it out when we moved to California. Instead of buying another artificial tree and storing it all year in our limited space, we decided to purchase real trees. For some reason, we always wait until the weekend before Christmas to pick a tree from a mostly empty lot near our house. We are always shocked at the high prices and Lisa is usually able to negotiate $20 - $40 off a $200 tree since it's so close to Christmas.

Egypt was asking to get a tree earlier this year and I somehow read an article about the national forests in Northern California offering permits for only $10 to cut your own tree. I did a little research and found the closest to our house, Tahoe National Forest was included. The idea is to thin the forest to help lower wildfire dangers while also allowing more mature trees thrive. I got a permit and a map of areas where harvesting live Christmas trees was allowed. I picked an area I was familiar with about an hour from our driveway.

I was hoping it would be a family outing, but Lisa stayed home with Kellisa as she was still recovering from her surgery. After purchasing a small chainsaw, Egypt and I headed out to the forest. As we gained elevation, the temperature dropped and patches of snow decorated the forest floor. We enjoyed some spectacular views before Egypt saw the perfect tree a short distance off the dirt road we were driving down. 

We got out and walked over to the tree and Egypt had already made up her mind. I could see at least 6 other trees that were just as perfect. Our permit limited us to trees less than 20ft. tall and trunk diameters of no more than 6 inches. I asked Egypt to at least look and consider the other trees. To her credit, she humored me and checked each tree out. Egypt was adamant about her first choice still being the best. I couldn't help but agree.

I went back and got the chainsaw as Egypt walked Evie. We posed for a few pictures before Egypt helped me cut down our first ever Christmas tree from the wild. I dragged it back and tied it down before driving back home. 

I had visions of clipping the tree once it was home to make it the perfect Christmas tree shape, but we decided to leave it natural even though it was a little uneven and stuck out in our main walkway from the front door to the kitchen, living room, and Kellisa's bedroom. 

Our tree was perfect and we started talking about "next year" and doing it again before we even decorated this tree. 

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