Christmas season starts with cutting a tree

The family and I went out into the forest to find the perfect Christmas tree on Sunday. We could have gotten a better tree from a tree lot, but it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as much fun. Or hard work.

I wasn’t sure if our tradition of going out into the woods to cut our own Christmas tree would survive the kids’ teen years, because you can’t take an Xbox on a hike in the forest. But when we asked the boys this year if they wanted to cut down a tree or buy one at a tree lot, they were both emphatic that we go cut one down ourselves.

I’m glad the kids are still excited about going out into the forest. It would be a lot easier to just buy one from a lot in town, and a tree from a lot would be fuller and prettier than anything we can find in the wild. But making a hike into the woods, finding the best possible tree, and cutting it down ourselves has become the official start of our family’s Christmas season. Last year, when I was working up in North Dakota, we didn’t get a chance to cut our own, and Christmas just didn’t seem the same.

It would also be a lot less work to get one from a tree lot. This year, the boys were able to help me more than the last time we got our own tree, so it wasn’t as hard as it’s been in the past. But it still wasn’t easy. I just can’t seem to pick a light Christmas tree. Every year, I think I’m going to get one with a smaller trunk, but every year, I think I end up choosing one with a bigger trunk than the previous year. Not only does that make it harder to cut the dang thing down, but it also means we have to carry a heavier tree back to the truck through thigh-deep snow.

Maybe next year I’ll let the boys pick the tree themselves. To make sure they get one that’s not too big and heavy, I’ll tell them from the outset that they’ll also be carrying it back to the truck themselves. That way, even if they have my gift of picking a heavy tree, they’ll be the ones dragging it, instead of me.