Since before we had Sadie, our little family has struggled with the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree.
I have always wanted to have a tree and Matt is always telling me that at a time of extreme climate change and mayhem, are we going to cut down yet another tree to satisfy our longing for a New England tradition that has come to represent Christmas even for a southern girl like me? Frazier firs don’t occur naturally anywhere around here.
My logical side understands all of the arguments against having a Christmas tree, but in my heart, I remember sitting with my sister on our wooden rocking horse and singing Silent Night as we watched the Christmas lights on our tree twinkle. I remember inhaling the sweet fir scent while handing the ball of lights to someone for them to wrap around the back of the tree. The absolute joy of my dad reading the tags on the presents under the tree and handing them out on Christmas morning. To me, Christmas was the only time my family seemed normal.
We talked about creating a new tradition we could both agree on when I was pregnant with Sadie and in the flux of new family life it became a non-priority. Every year Christmas appeared on the calendar as if by magic and we were no more prepared to replace the old tradition than we were the year before. This year, after ten years of listening to the endless reasons why having a Christmas tree was insanity and making do with hodge-podge Christmas tree stand-ins ( a potted Norfolk pine, a pine cut from Cedar Creek) I watched my neighbor untie his tree from his car and something in me reawakened.
I walked up to Matt and told him I just wanted a real Christmas tree and I wasn’t willing to let his humbug attitude since his parents divorce keep infecting our family. We talked and talked and finally happily came to the conclusion that we wanted to cut a tree at a tree farm in Brevard after visiting his mom for Thanksgiving.Matt found Zeigler’s Farm nearby, called them and took our family there to cut our tree. This may seem like mundane details but it was in that moment that I finally felt seen. He knew this was important to me and sidestepped his own intellect long enough to listen to what I had been telling him for ten years.
We drove so long up a precipitous winding dirt road that I thought we had taken a wrong turn. The land was breathtaking and we finally arrived at a farm neatly tucked into the wilderness. We took our dog Gretchen and headed into a nearby field and began to look for our tree.