December 11, 2006

Dashing through the snow

As Chip pointed out on his blog, the traditional trip to cut down a Christmas tree is a bit different with teenagers than with little kids. Children get so excited about everything: they will happily trudge through the snow for hours to find the perfect tree and will be thrilled by something as simple as a ride in a haywagon pulled by a tractor. I can remember the time years ago, when my husband and I had no kids of our own, and we brought my two young nieces to help us get a tree. They were bouncing up and down with excitement at every part of the adventure. Free candy canes! Wreaths with red bows! On the drive home, when the tree flew off the roof of the car and landed in a snowbank, they both screamed with laughter and excitement. They talked about that incident for years.

Teenagers tend to be more nonchalant. My kids came willingly on Sunday to get our Christmas tree, but more to please me than anything else. The Christmas tree farm is on a hill, and as we climbed up the dirt road, I noticed that Boy in Black was carrying a frisbee. As we reached the meadow at the top of the hill, he and Shaggy Hair began playing frisbee while the rest of us walked about the groves of Christmas trees to look for one that was big enough.

It was a beautiful day for walking around a hillside. The ground was covered with snow, but much of it was melting in the afternoon sun, and I could see golden fields of dried grasses in the distance. As usual, we found a tree in the farthest possible spot, off near the edge of the farmer's land. Little kids can take a long time to choose a tree, but older kids are much quicker. The four kids gathered near the first tree my husband pointed to and said things like, "Yeah, that's fine."

When the kids were little, they used to all help carry the tree, everyone wanting to be part of the process. We'd drag it across the snow to the dirt road and wait for a ride on the hay wagon. With big kids, the process is much different. Boy in Black took one look at the eight-foot tree that we'd just cut down, handed the frisbee to With-a-Why, and then picked the tree up with both hands. Carrying the tree above his head, he took off running across the fields, yelling, "I can beat that tractor down the hill!"

We all chased after him, laughing, as the tall skinny kid with the tree on his shoulders went skidding down the slope of mud and ice, running as fast as he could all the way to the parking lot. I will say this about getting a tree with grown kids – it is certainly faster.

12 comments:

Chip said...

that is so true. I still remember the year my son BK was about 4, we would stop at each tree to consider it, and he'd start crying and crying, so sad at the prospect of us cutting the tree down. That year the choice of a tree took a very long time...

You're lucky Boy in Black carried the tree. Our kids just ran back to the car, leaving my wife and I to carry the tree back -- fortunately it wasn't too big or too far.

Her Bad Mother said...

Faster. And livelier, it sounds.

And lovely.

Anonymous said...

I regret that I have never picked a real live growing tree. Even the real trees we had when I lived with my parents all came from the local tree lots.

They were pre-cut. And the guy would lift up the one we pointed out and shake out its branches for us to see.

kathy a said...

photos! i want photos of the tree marathon!

we get ours from a lot, too, but we always buy from delancy street -- their tree lots are just part of what has become a really terrific job training + rehab program. i first met the program over 25 years ago in the fancy city by the bay, and they still have a tree lot yearly in my little local town across the bay. [not as good a story as hiking to cut one down...]

Anonymous said...

Yeah! Where are the photos? It's the perfect blog photo...a shot from behind, tree to disguise any distinguishing features. I'm disappointed. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I guess one's got to say that faster is good, if not as exciting :)

Lisa V said...

The tree farm we love has trees we don't like. The farm is so beautiful, and they have bonfires with hot cider, and at the end a machine that shakes off loose needles. It's "an experience." Unfortunately, the needles on the trees are not condusive to ornaments. Ours fall off every time we get one.

So we go to a lot, but a good lot.

ccw said...

My mom still talks about how devestated she was the first year I did not care about going to the tree farm.

When I was young, I could not wait to get to the famr to tag the tree that we liked. It was so exciting to wait until December 1st to go have the tree cut down.

Jessica said...

We were decorating our tree last night and I had to nearly force my 16 year old to participate - he wasn't resentful so much as pure lazy (I think he hung three ornaments). I have a CLASSIC picture that I can't wait to blog...

Yankee, Transferred said...

Younger Daughter told us this year, "When I have kids, I'm bringing them to you two to get our tree, because if it were up to me, I'd get a fake one and not go through this process every year."
Bleh.
Gigi did all the lifting and stomping-you have to stomp the trunk on the ground to see how the branches shake out when you buy them from a tree joint.

Anonymous said...

Your post title is a perfect evocation of the scene you describe.

When I was little we went to a Christmas tree farm and hauled the tree back to our car on my sled. When I was older we switched to a lot. Now, fish and I are usually traveling...I'm looking forward to taking Mini to a Christmas tree farm - maybe next year!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

What fun! We always used to do that too, but here in the city, we have an artificial tree--the tree farms are too far away! WAHN! I miss the country life. Hope you have a wonderful holiday season--please give my love to all your kids and hubby. Miss you, jo(e), Mary