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.
Author: 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.