I always swore I’d never send one of those Christmas letters — in fact I hate them so much that this year I sent one back with edits. “Please see my notes on unnecessary capitalization. Central New York should not be used with quotation marks. Try to tighten up the part about the death of your aunt; overall it would be good to keep this under 400 words…”
But despite my Christmas letter ban, I did enclose this little note with our card this year, which featured us standing by the Christmas tree we cut down:
For 27 years we’ve been cutting down our own Christmas tree.
The first time was in 1988, high up in the hills outside Albany. We followed some hand-drawn signs down a deserted road where a sketchy looking guy took our $10 and told us to cut down whatever tree we wanted. It wasn’t a tree farm. We’re not even sure it was his property.
These were not the beautifully groomed trees of Christmas cards, but big, bushy things that were as wide as they were tall. But hey, $10! After trudging through the snow we found the right one, cut it down and dragged it off to the car.
Since then we’ve gone out, usually the day after Thanksgiving, to start the Christmas season with the annual tree cutting. This year was no different, and we were blessed that both Alex and Zach were home to help.
By the way, we’ve learned many lessons about Christmas trees. The top five:
- Cut down a bigger tree than you need. You can make a tree shorter, but not taller.
- If it’s muddy, leave the dogs at home.
- Putting the tree on the car roof? Don’t open the windows and run your rope through the car. This will tie the doors shut.
- Invest in a good tree stand. Not saying our tree has ever fallen over, but…
- Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Pay close attention to that last tip. In fact, this Christmas, let’s all remember what really matters: our family and friends, the traditions we treasure and the miracle we celebrate.
Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas.