We put up our tree last night. We have developed a fun routine in which my husband wrestles with the tree for a while, uses one of my serrated knives to hack off the lowest branches, and then bear-hugs it while I decide whether it is straight or not. Then, I get to decorate. We always had an artificial tree growing up because my sister was highly allergic (I actually do remember very early trees - my parents would get trees with root balls and all and then plant them later), but I love live trees. The smell is great, they are beautiful, and unlike some artificials, are soft and won't scratch up your hands. For the past two years, we have bought our trees not far from Marion at Liville River Tree Farm. We pick it out, and Jordan saws it down and throws it over his shoulder.This year, I used those hacked off lower branches for the wreath - it is definitely not perfect, but I think it looks alright, green gift-wrap ribbon and all.
This year, I am really trying to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, as cliche as that sounds. I want to avoid the rabid consumerism that seems to crop up (have you seen any Wal-Mart commercials lately, the ones that feature small children with endless lists of what they want, and parents desparate to meet each desire?). My family (my husband, parents, sister, and brother-in-law, and I) have decided that instead of exchanging gifts, we are going to get tickets to Old Salem, something my mom and sister and I have wanted to do for a long time. But even though family is such an important part of Christmas, I am trying to focus on the fact that this is a religious holiday - it is the celebration of Christ's birth.