Today I followed a car most of the way home, with a bailed tree tied securely to its roof. In my lifetime I cannot recall a time that we had to travel such a distance that we would need to tie a tree to our vehicle in order to get it home safely. I guess that's one of the benefits of living in the country, only half a mile from a Christmas tree farm.
I recall a day, not unlike today, where the skies were full of snow showers and flurries that whitened the ground enough to bring the sled out of the shed. Our children were enamored with the holidays and excitedly begged to get our Christmas tree long before the turkey carcass was discarded after Thanksgiving. "Have patience" is what I am sure I said to them both, when in reality I was just as excited as they were.
With snow covering the streets and the tree farm so close, my husband and I decided it would be quite the adventure to have the kids pull the sled to the tree farm to bring our prized tree home the old fashioned way. My husband's mother was born in Denmark and raised in Sweden, and he thought she would be thrilled to hear we had gotten our tree the way they did back home in Sweden.
So the kids bundled up in their snowsuits, mittens, and boots, and we hiked to the tree farm as they argued about who got to pull the sled. Selecting a tree was surprisingly and miraculously easy with 4 of us vying to have our opinions heard. My son invariable disappeared in the forest of trees, leaving my daughter and I to measure and ponder which tree would look the best in our living room. After the fourth or fifth "Maybe this one!" my husband agreed to any tree we picked. He was cold and wanted to go home. Especially since the weather was warming. He feared there wouldn't be enough snow on the roads to pull the sled home.
After making our selection, we had the tree bailed and layed it on the sled. There was no fighting on the way home about who would pull the sled, because it took both kids to even make it move. After the first quarter mile, the tree had fallen off the sled at least three times! The kids gave up and my husband ended up pulling the load the rest of the way.
Once home, we cut off the tree bailing only to find cinders, sticks, and other debris that had worked its way into the strings each time the tree landed on the road. It truly was quite comical. My husband glossed over those parts in sharing the story with his mother. He just wanted her to know we had gotten our tree the old fashioned Swedish way. A quiet spoken woman, my mother in law waited patiently for John to finish his story before telling him that, back in Sweden, they used to go to a town lot (from their country home) to get their tree!
We were speechless, and still laugh about it today. We now have a memory, a memorable story, and know that not all "traditions" are what you might expect. That reminds me of the tradition of putting the star on the tree. But that's a story for another time.
A warm country hug to all,