Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. My husband and I love it so much, that we got married two days after Christmas so we could take advantage of all the Christmas decorations at the church, soak in all the family love and celebrate or anniversary every year when people are in a festive mood.
We just moved a week ago. The remaining unpacked boxes are in the garage and require Curt's attention, not mine. But there are pictures stacked against the wall, layers deep, in all the rooms, furniture that didn't sell on Craigslist that needs to be shuttled to the garage, a half-finished rocking chair remodel in the living room, and I could go on. My list of projects seems insurmountable at this current moment and I do not feel in the Christmas spirit. To top it all off, it's been beautiful in Oregon, our new home state, and the weather has been in the high 50's and low 60's and sunny -not exactly typical mid-western snowy Christmas weather.
This morning we forced ourselves to take a break from the work, follow tradition, and go as a family to a local tree farm and search the premises for the "PERFECT" Stilp family Christmas tree. In perfect Clark W. Griswald tradition, we had happy and not-so-happy moments along the way, and as he does every year, Curt busted out the quote from Christmas Vacation, "it's all part of the experience Honey."
We traipsed up a huge hill, me carrying Paige who refused to walk and Curt trying to keep up with Grant (who was running with a saw), Katie, Alli and Dusty, our dog, who had run ahead and were out of sight. Dusty kept getting tangled in the blackberry bushes, Paige wanted to be carried the whole way, Katie made some cotton candy out of a rotten wood stick, Alli got bored and started whining about going home, and Grant got busted whipping Dusty with a pine bough and lost all pine branch carrying privileges.
And like every year, by the time the light from heaven beamed on the "IT" tree for Curt, we were all ready to pick any tree in the lot to bring home. Our new home has a big living room with 18 foot ceilings and can accommodate a mammoth tree, so we didn't wimp out. The tree Curt chose was ginormous and it took him 20 minutes to saw through the trunk. By the time we yelled "TIMBER" he was sweating all over, Paige and Alli were sitting in the mud cause their feet hurt, Grant was sulking from getting in trouble, and I was inwardly giggling at how EVERY year our tree-cutting experience ends up being a great mix of terrible and wonderful. It's just enough fun that we HAVE to do it again the next year.
When we got our beast of a tree home, Curt set to work tracking down a tree stand large enough to hold the trunk because our current one didn't cut it. We found a generous neighbor who has "gone artificial" and borrowed their tree stand. We huffed and puffed and lugged that thing into the living room and then Curt got to work decorating it.
I should explain... I am fly by the seat of my pants, get it done quickly, little attention to detail girl. Curt is the opposite. He's calculated, cool, calm, reflective, methodical and very symmetrical. When I decorated our first tree as a married couple, I thought he was going to die at how bad it looked. His dream was to eventually get a home with two living areas, one for his tree and one for mine.
So as Curt set to work methodically hanging white lights in equally spaced distances on his gorgeous fresh tree, the kids and I slapped together the family room tree. We finished before he even got the lights done. Our tree is multi-colored lights (which Curt hung symmetrically for me, bless his heart), bottom heavy with ornaments bunched together in groups because the kids hung them all, none of the ornaments match, and the angel looks like she could spill off the top at any given moment. And I LOVE it!
Curt finished his tree while I was blogging, and it's breath-taking. Perfectly spaced white lights followed by white and red wired-ribbon, and matching ornaments in shades of white and red. All 10 feet of it are stunning and I admire all his hard work and dedication. The finished project is definitely worth oohing and aahing over.
I walked through our house tonight, laughed at our two very different trees, and thought to myself, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.