Since the day I found out I was pregnant with Carlitos, my husband and I have lived in six different homes in three different states. I changed jobs and added in about four different part-time positions, he changed jobs three times and started graduate school.
To balance out the chaos, we have plenty of solid family traditions that help stabilize our little family. I have noticed that since moving to New York City, I tend to push these traditions to be as full of nature as possible. Apple picking in September, pumpkin picking in October, Christmas tree chopping in December. I also just noticed that I didn’t have a blog post for this year’s apple picking, nor pumpkin picking excursions. Hmm…what would possibly cause me to not document these beautiful memories?
Oh, wait! I did document these memories…on Instagram! Ahh yes, Instagram has effectively stolen the photographic memory portion of this blog.
So I am stealing it back.
Here are the Instagram photos of us choosing our tree:
So, the thing about cutting down your own Christmas tree is that it often costs more than what you would pay on the sidewalk in Manhattan. The trees are also not as uniformly perfect. Or at least, that has been our experience thus far. Fill up the gas tank, drive for two hours, cut down our tree, pay for some hot cider and cocoa, put more gas in the car, stop at a restaurant, drive two hours home, put up our tree and make ourselves fall in love with her sparse branches and gaping hole on the top, right hand side.
It is clearly a labor of love, not pursuit of perfection. The experience is what makes it so special and what makes us love our dear little tree as much as if it were full, sturdy and symmetrical. Perhaps more.
In truth, it is one of my most proud parenting moments each year. I am reminded of our adventurous spirit as a family collectively. The tradition is strong, but we alter it each year, visiting a different tree farm or picking out a local restaurant at the last minute. I love the combination of knowing we will all take part in this annual tradition enthusiastically, but will also see what spur of the moment experiences we can add to it each time.
I know I am getting sappy and gushy and soppy and gloppy.
I don’t really have an excuse.
So here are some stolen moments from Instagram of our tree decorating. (Poor little bugga needed some decorating and general TLC.)
To compensate for the ‘magging’ here is some mom shaming (Maming? No, not maiming, maming.) I totally had a dessert martini before dinner. By myself. (Sidenote: chocolate vodka, half and half, splash of amaretto, spoonful of Nutella, shaken. Make it. Lordy.)
We aren’t the only (awful) parents that rearrange the boys’ ornaments after they go to bed, right? I think the tree would have fallen over if we didn’t. Or those two branches would have at least collapsed under the weight of 23 ornaments each.
Aww. Golden, dreamy filter. Twinkling lights. The children placing the angel on top of our Charlie Brown Christmas tree. The angel I made out of a paper plate 25 years ago. With their arms around each other. And matching PJs. Who am I kidding, the only thing taking my breath away in this photo is how damn hot my husband’s arm looks. Fatherhood looks good on you, hotstuff.
We are always in the business of adding more traditions to the holidays, so please feel free to share yours in the comments!
Unless, of course, if involves the Elf on the Shelf. I love seeing updates from funny people who turn into Sarah Silverman and Martha Stewart’s lovechild with their Elf of the Shelf antics for all of December, but I won’t be taking part. I am just not that creative. I am the girl who tries to make her gingerbread house look exactly like the sample one on the box. I could never come up with 25 creative elf activities.
Anything else though, lay it on me!
And, just, you know, totally random helpful holiday hint: Don’t ever pack up left over Christmas cookies with your Christmas tree skirt and Santa hats in an easily chomped-through plastic bag. You may regret it. Or so I’ve heard.