My most favorite day of the year as a child was the day that we would get our Christmas tree. Now, we didn’t just go get a tree, we went Christmas Tree Hunting. Sometime between Christmas day and early December, mom and dad would decide a day that would work and that was our day. Sometimes we would drive way up into the bush in our valley and sometimes we would climb up the mountain of our property. Always searching carefully for the perfect tree; shaking the snow off of this one, standing back to look at that one. Sometimes we would stop for a fire and some snacks because we weren’t going home until we had found the right one. Often, we would decide upon one that we had passed up earlier in search of a better one (one time it was literally on the edge of our barnyard.)
Once we got home, dad would set up the tree and do any needed branch trimming. Depending on the sparsity of the branches that year, we would also tie in a few branches. Then we pulled out boxes from different corners and cracks where they were stored, waiting impatiently for Dad to finish stringing the lights, and the decorating began. Oh the beautiful random assortment; this blue one from my mom’s childhood tree, this funny penguin bought for Dad’s birthday, teddy bears for each child from a much loved uncle, a sparkly angel offered from a family friend, still another angel made from pasta and painted white, a box of little bows and felt candy canes from another friend who spent several years with us. I was dazzled by the beauty of each ornament as we carefully took them from the boxes and hung them on the tree until each one had its place. Finally it was time for the tinsel star to be placed on top and plugged in. And oh, it was beautiful!
As I moved from childhood, our tree became a little more polished, some of the old ornaments became a little too ratty looking and my mom replaced some. But each year with out fail, we went on the Christmas tree hunt and the memories kept building. Memories of piling into the truck, of my baby brother falling off the pack horse into the deep snow, my older brother insisting that the top of a tall pine tree was perfect and so climbing up to cut it. Laughing and being together. My favorite day.
Two years have passed without the great tree hunt and this year, we knew that we would select our very first Nova Scotia Christmas tree from our own bit of land. The modified version comes because of the wee one limiting my ability to walk and so our “hunt” entailed walking to the edge of our field and selecting from there.
**Continuing with no lights as our reminder for advocacy and prayer.