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.