It’s here, it’s here! It’s finally here! The full permission that I have been waiting for!
That’s what the first day of December means to me…decorating for Christmas. This first day of December is full permission to haul out all the delightful, fun, whimsical, tacky, precious, corny and adorable Christmas decorations that we have accumulated over the years and get down to the business of transforming our everyday living space into a sparkly, shiny Christmas wonderland!
I have a serious objection to decorating too early and I would have to say that Starbucks is among the worst offenders. Even before the last Jack ‘o Lantern has flickered out, Santa’s Christmas elves visit every single Starbucks in town and barf Christmas all over them. I mean, seriously, who wants to start thinking Christmas when there is all that delectable Halloween candy lying around in those wonderfully bulging bags?
The first of December just feels right somehow.
We were out late at Simon’s fabulously fun company party last night and even though I did not make it to bed until 1:00 this morning, I awoke at 6:00 thinking…Christmas tree! We have been having the big debate in our house this year as to whether we were finally going to cave in and buy a fake tree. The traditionalist in me loves the smell, the feel and the energy of a real tree. The more practical side was all for setting up a tree (with lights included, no less) in mere moments.
Max’s vote was for the fake tree because he hates having to help dispose of the tired tree and all its falling needles when the festivities are over. Michael’s opinion was that it wouldn’t feel like Christmas without the smell in the house and Zachary emphatically announced that Christmas was ruined if we went fake.
When all the votes were in, we decided to go with a real tree but the stipulation was that we were going to get a fresh tree from a farm and not a supermarket special. The logic there was that we didn’t want a tree that was cut down in September to sit around in some warehouse to get moldy.
So, regardless of the very late night of revelry and a less that restful sleep, at 6:00 this morning I couldn’t wait to get started. I crept down quietly while the house slept around me and Googled Christmas Tree farms in the area. I found one that was not only a relatively short drive away but was also open at 8:00am. And with lots of stuff to do today, I needed to get the Christmas tree crossed off my list early.
Zach and Simon had hockey and Max elected to spend the morning in bed so it was up to Michael and me to pick the perfect tree for Christmas 2013. As we set off together my frame of mind was; ‘let’s get this done as quickly as possible so that we can get on to the next thing’. We were only a few minutes into the drive when Michael started to spin tunes on his iPod. And, knowing me as well as he does, his choices were all songs that I love. Before long, I could feel myself relaxing into the moment as we travelled along the highway singing at the top of our lungs.
As I drove along the rural concession roads to reach our destination, it struck me how absolutely happy and content I felt being with my son, singing songs together and going to pick the perfect Christmas tree. Suddenly, I was no longer on an errand that needed to be crossed off the list. I was on an early morning journey of togetherness, fun and love with one of my favourite people in the whole world.
It was just after 8:00am when we pulled into a fairly sketchy-looking Christmas tree farm. If it weren’t for the sign informing me that I was in the right place I would have thought that we had somehow stumbled upon some old man’s run-down family farm. The elderly man who greeted me had a heavy accent and a weathered face with an almost cherubic glow. I informed him that I had come for a freshly cut Christmas tree and that I wanted a Balsam Fir (because my Google research earlier in the morning had informed me that the Balsam Fir has an ‘excellent scent and good needle retention.’) He gave me an almost startled look and pointed to the ground at his feet and said; ‘I must have known that you were coming…here is your tree.’ I leaned out my window and saw a beautiful freshly cut 6-foot Balsam Fir all wrapped up and ready to go.
Michael, who believes in serendipity as much as I do, looked at me with an adorable grin and said; ‘mommy, it’s as if we were supposed to be here and this is our tree.’ I agreed absolutely and paid the old man in cash. He helped me load the tree into the van and within 10 minutes of arriving, we were back on the road again and, once more, singing our hearts out.
As I sit in my living room and write, the distinctive scent of a freshly cut Christmas tree is wafting delicately around me. As I inhale the heavenly fragrance I feel as if I am lost in some sort of vortex of suspended time. The smell is so reminiscent of the forty-five Christmases that I have spent, I feel like I could close my eyes and be any age and that this could be any one of those Christmas seasons.
When I open my eyes and ground myself in this moment and in this Christmas, I see the beautiful tree that seemed to choose Michael and me so serendipitously this morning. And I see the journey we took to bring it home. I see the singing, the mysterious old man and the deep connection I felt with Michael when we were both so delighted with the magic of our early morning encounter.
And in closing, as the holiday season really kicks into high gear, our beautiful tree gently reminds me that even errands that need to be crossed off of the lengthy to-do list have the potential for magic and wonder…if I can just slow down enough to drink them in.