Advent Calendar Day 3: Oh, Christmas Tree by Melanie Noell Bernard

Image by Melanie Noell Bernard, wreath by Lileya of Deviantart

Oh, Christmas Tree by Melanie Noell Bernard

Traditions are those activities which take place every year. They’re the things we look forward to, and one of the best times for them to occur is during the holidays. The holidays come around every year. Same day, same time, same tradition.

My family wasn’t one to have a whole lot of traditions when it came to holidays, specifically Christmas. Christmas was simply a time filled with buying presents, wrapping them when no one else was home, cooking a big turkey, and relaxing in the glow of the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. In fact, it was the Christmas tree, itself, that held the most tradition in my house.

For as long as I can remember we had a real tree in the house. We had a fake tree, as well, but it’s never quite the same. It doesn’t feel the same. It doesn’t smell the same. It doesn’t give off the same vibe as, or fill the room like, a real Christmas tree, nor will you ever have to remember to water it like a real Christmas tree or worry the cat will drink the fertilized water. (Fun times that one was… >.>)

Even though fake trees are less maintenance, offer easier clean-up, and are financially cheaper in the long run, a real tree was what we had to have. That being said, our one, and only, tradition was to have a real tree for Christmas.

It would be the day after Thanksgiving, when everyone else was busy with their Black Friday shopping, my family would bustle into the car and head over to Tannenbaum Tree Farm just outside of town. We’d have the ropes for tying it to the roof and the gloves to protect our hands while sawing. We’d have on our snow boots and winter coats, and we’d snag mini candy canes that lay in a basket just inside the door.

From there we’d climb a few stairs and stand on the flat bed of a trailer. A tracker would cart us to the back of the tree farm where we’d hop off, grab a saw and a cart to tow the tree with, and head off in the direction of the Douglas Firs because Lord knows my mother had to have her Douglas Fir. It was the best possible tree. Bristles soft enough to touch, yet branches strong and sturdy enough to hold ornaments. However, the thing that mattered most to my mother, was the smell. The smell of a Douglas Fir was unlike any other wintergreen or species of Fir in the entire farm.

Being so young and small, I often rode in the back of the metal tree cart while my brother pulled me along. We’d wander through a great patch of these monsters. They’d be taller than me, my mother, my father, my brother. Both men in the house would pick a couple out, but it was mother who made the final decision. She had the last say. Only with her permission could we kneel down on the frozen, snow-covered ground and saw the tree, thus claiming it as our own.

Now, naturally, I couldn’t ride in the cart with the tree on the way back, but that didn’t matter. By that time, my butt was practically frozen from sitting on the metal bars and my hands from holding tight. Yet, the most important part of the trip, having already claimed our tree, was racing back to the tiny, wooden hut for some hot cocoa and donuts.

After warming myself by the drum barrel fire, I’d climb to my feet because there was still one more thing to see. Reindeer were the main attraction of this quaint little farm. They stood in a pen and sniffed your fingers, their furry noses pushing through the bars. Big and gentle, those gorgeous creatures were. Beautiful and silly and I could’ve stood there for hours. Yet, with the tree wrapped and the tracker returned, it was time to go.

A short, one-hour adventure this might have been, but it was the most memorable, most exciting, and most traditional of all our family’s holiday activities. After all, the tree could very well be the most important part of preparing for Christmas.

ProfileAuthor: Melanie Noell Bernard
I am a twenty-three-year-old aspiring novelist. I hold a Bachelor’s of Science in genetics, which is the inspiration for all of my worlds. It’s also the reason I write in the young adult sub-genres of science fiction, dystopian, and post-apocalyptic.

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17 thoughts on “Advent Calendar Day 3: Oh, Christmas Tree by Melanie Noell Bernard

  1. These events, as small as they appear when we live them, are in fact what we remember for the rest of our lives. A tree, and especially a live one, for Christmas is such a beautiful symbol of the combo human/nature. The scent of a fresh Douglas Fire is so exquisite. I never cut a tree when I was living in France but we have always done it in the US (except the very first one). Lovely post and lovely memory.
    Besides I’m gald to bump into another fiction writer!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What lovely memories. I feel magic, awe and wonder in the air. I want to say Merry Christmas after reading this post even though the festivities are three weeks away!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Gulara. It’s definitely the part of the holiday season where I felt the magic and wonder in the air. And you can totally say ”Merry Christmas!” We say it all throughout December over here. :p

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I love imagining the smell of the real trees and the sound the Reindeers made. This is a lovely story of the family tradition. It’s great to discover all these traditions from around the world come together on this one blog. Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I loved reading about you cutting down your own Christmas tree out in the snow. I’m Australian and we’ve always simply bought our real Christmas Tree from the local fruit shop. For me that incredible pine scent of a real tree is part of Christmas, even though I rate the pine needles on par with dog hair on the floor. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and wish you a Happy New Year xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. My family was never one to buy from a tree stand in a parking lot, even though it was an option. I’m glad we didn’t because there is so much more Christmas spirit and nostalgia about trudging through the snow to find and cut down the perfect tree. ^.^

      And yes, pine needles on the floor are so annoying! Always vacuuming. :p

      A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you, as well!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Melanie. Through all these discussions about Christmas traditions, I actually found out that my husband’s family used to cut down there own tree. He grew up in Scottsdale in regional Tasmania and while it was Summer there so he wasn’t trudging through the snow, they’d chop down a tree from saplings growing beside the road. Apparently, even though they had high ceilings, the tree was usually too tall. That surprised me because my husband is pretty good with spatial stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Haha! I can remember quite a few times when my family picked out a tree that was a little too big and had to saw part of it off once we got home. :p It became easier, though, when my brother reached his full height. It gave my parents something to compare the tree’s height to. Haha!

          Liked by 1 person

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