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A Charlie Brown Christmas [Tree]

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Like so much in life, maybe you don’t pick your Christmas tree — it picks you.

I’m not sure why our evergreen reached out and grabbed us during our tree-cutting excursion in Park County a couple of weeks ago.

At the time, I was certain of the answer. My husband and I were standing just outside the truck, buttoning, zipping and tying up our kids, when that first slap of icy wind stung our faces. Sometimes, just going to the neighborhood market with a 3-year-old and 2-year-old is enough to induce aisle-rattling meltdowns.

It should have been apparent to us, then, that taking them out in a ground blizzard could spark some sort of toddler angst. It also should have occurred to us to at least take along some of the hundreds-of-dollars worth of outdoor kid carriers and equipment we have at home for instances such as these. On both counts, we didn’t come prepared.

But we had driven to South Park for the day to cut a tree, and we were certainly going to go home with one. So, off we went, the four of us, into the forest to cut down a glorious tannenbaum.

We didn’t get far. Just to the edge of the road where the deep snow began. That’s where Mommy and Daddy hoisted daughter and son on shoulders, and we were finally off on our tree-cutting adventure worthy of a Hallmark cover.

Then the whining really began. First it was from the kids.

After about a quarter of a mile, though, I couldn’t tell who was whining more, them or me. The snow and wind were driving needles into my cheeks and my son kept yanking on my hair to stay aloft my shoulders. All this, on top of trudging along a snow-covered 11,000-footer started to make me cranky.

Pretty soon, anything that even resembled a plant looked good to me. “Here. This looks good. How about this one?” I would say hopefully. Each time, my husband would grunt something that I could only assume meant, “More trudging.”

Then, I saw the tree of my dreams. It was THE one. It was a voluptuous beauty. Finally, I could put my son down to see if I had any hair left, and help nip this Hallmark day in the bud. Finally, we had found the only tree we could both agree on.

We promptly cut it down, somehow dragged it and our kids back to the truck and met the rest of our party back at our family’s cabin for some hot chocolate.

The next day, we set it up in our living room. But what had appeared to be a lusty, full-figured diva in the whipping wind on Georgia Pass turned out to be an Olive Oyl. Our Christmas tree was a tall, sparsely branched shrub.

I was a little annoyed at first. I’d find myself looking through other people’s windows, eyeing their big, beautiful trees. I stood agape at the mall, marveling at the fullness of the greenery. I just couldn’t help myself.

But now that I’ve had a couple of weeks to think about it, I’m starting to warm up to our little Charlie Brown tree. I even think it’s trying to talk to us, and I’m still trying to figure out what it’s saying.

Maybe it’s that we should focus on spending happy times with our loved ones this Christmas season, rather than spending more money and hectic, list-filled days.

Maybe it’s beckoning us to strip all the glitz out of what has become a light-show extraordinaire and turn Christmas back into a holy day. Maybe it’s telling us to find a little peace among a whirlwind of activity. Go organic. A la natural.

I’d like to think our little tree saw my family wandering through the forest on a cold, windy day and picked us, hoping to spread a little of its cheer and remind us of the promise and joy of the season.

Next time, though, I hope any tree that has a message will say it a little closer to the road.

Jennifer Starbuck is a freelance writer who lives in Centennial.

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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber Johnson December 21, 2007

    Two weeks after we bought our Christmas tree from the tree farm down the street, it died. Now its dead, lifeless needles are littering our floor.

    What message does it have for us? :-)

  • comment avatar Eva December 21, 2007

    This was cute! Like so many things in life (like finding your own tree), the idea is often better than the reality!

  • comment avatar SJ December 21, 2007

    Oh I love the tree! And I made a note to myself while reading your sentiments: wait until my kids are older before going through the same experience.

    Enjoy your holiday! And your special little tree.

    http://andallthejonesmen.blogspot.com

  • comment avatar Jenn December 22, 2007

    And a merry Christmas to you, too! I’m bonding with my little shrub as we speak…

  • comment avatar JP C December 23, 2011

    Fun!

  • comment avatar Lisa - Laughing Yoga Mama December 23, 2011

    I came home to a beautiful, full, and perfectly shaped tree standing in my living room this year. Unfortunately, it hadn’t come from anywhere near the forest.
    My dear husband and sons had gone out together and selected an 7 foot artificial tree with 900 lights!! I am not an artificial tree lover, I love my live (or partly dead, I guess) imperfect trees with all the work of watering and dragging it out to be composted after new years.
    I’ve been grumping about for a few weeks and am still struggling to accept this plastic beauty. It really is the best looking artificial tree I’ve ever seen, but it’s still fake.
    Wonder what message it’s got for me? Do fake trees talk like the real ones?
    Thanks for the great story and Merry Christmas!

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