Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Christmas Trees: Buy Two, Get Three

I’ve made it a practice to share a Christmas memory each year. I know it is a busy time of year. I don’t know how many people will actually read this, but for those of you here with me now, I hope you will find a blessing in my story. 

When our girls were young we spent much of our Christmas holiday traveling the interstate between Ohio and Florida. If you’ve spent much time in Florida you’ll find most people who live there are from somewhere else. We call them “transplants.”

Tom and I were transplanted the other direction. We moved from Florida to Ohio. Every year we loaded our daughters, gifts, and a bagful of snacks and drove sixteen hours to spend Christmas with our family. No regrets. We did, however, try to have a few traditions apart from viewing the decorated houses on the route through Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia.

Tom and I grew up with fresh cut Christmas trees. This proved to be one tradition we found difficult to continue when we moved to Ohio even though we tried. We would decorate the tree the day after Thanksgiving, wrap gifts, entertain our friends, then load everything in the van the minute school was out in December and drive away for a week or more. When we returned we had unpacking to do, a pile of presents to put away from loving grandparents, laundry facing us, and school and work routines back on the clock.

We also had a dry and prickly Christmas tree to be undecorated and cleared out of the house. It was a mess. I lobbied for an artificial tree.

“We could decorate it and leave it up forever if we wanted,” I said.
Tom couldn’t wrap his head around an artificial tree.

As our children grew, we split our Christmas break between Florida and various ski resorts in winter wonderlands such as Colorado and Vermont. And we found a solution to the sticky, dry, messy cut trees.

We bought a live tree. This one had its roots balled in burlap. With care, we were able to enjoy the tree throughout the Christmas season and it was still going strong in January. Tom followed the guidelines provided by the nursery for the tree’s care after Christmas. We eventually planted the tree in our yard. It was about three feet tall but beautiful. “It’ll grow,” Tom told the girls.

That was tree one.

The next year we decided to do the same thing. We decorated the second live tree for the inside and put lights on the one outside. It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Tree two was planted and the next summer we had two beautiful trees growing in our yard. Trees filled with memories and birds.

This was our first live tree and yielded a
"cut tree" a few years later.
Live trees can be expensive, so the third year we decided to go back to our cut tree plan. The following Christmas some neighborhood boys tried to take the top out of one of our trees. They were not successful and Tom talked to them about respecting other people’s property. He took his saw and removed the broken top of our sweet little evergreen. That year, we decorated the topper as our tree. It was only a couple of feet tall, but we all decided it was the most beautiful tree we could have imagined. After all, it grew in our yard, right?

Two trees planted. Three trees trimmed.

We moved from that house a year later and decided to purchase a life-like artificial tree. It was a big move…not to the house but away from our traditional Christmas trees.

Our Two "Little" Christmas Trees
We’ve lived in this home for over twenty years now. Recently, I drove over to our former house. I stood outside and marveled at our little Christmas trees still growing in the yard. The new owner was interested in the story behind the trees and with his permission I had my picture taken in front of one of them. Our little three-foot Christmas tree now towers above the second story of the house. It is the one whose top was plucked from it. The second tree is as large. They stand there, tall and magnificent and a reminder to me of Christmas past.

I pray you have a wonderful Christmas filled with love, laughter, family, and traditions of your own. But most of all, I pray this season you will seek a closer relationship with Jesus. Merry Christmas!


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