The Year of the White Pine
This is has become my favorite week of the year. I have come to enjoy the week of Thanksgiving for the traditions my family has created. 

One of those traditions is cutting down a Christmas tree the Friday after Thanksgiving. The tradition began when I was a kid and I have carried it over into adulthood. 

There have been years when my family has picked a tree from a lot and even a few years when we used an artificial tree. (What were we thinking?) 

But, whenever possible, we choose to visit a live Christmas tree farm and wander the fields looking for the perfect tree. And let me tell you, it's a process! Everyone has their opinion. Patience is tested and things can get tense. Over the years, I've mellowed, but I still have an opinion, and so do my kids. Bless his heart, my husband chooses to keep the peace and agree with everyone, even if he has his own opinion, which he certainly does. 

Take the last two years, for example. 

Last year we settled on a canaan fir. I thought it was the most beautiful tree we've ever had! I loved it! But, then again, I'm a big fan of the short, soft needle balsam and frasier firs. They are your classic tree with great needle retention and a strong Christmas tree aroma. They are my first choice, always. Until I met the the canaan fir. It is very similar to the other firs and is relatively new to the scene.

However, my husband and daughter disagree with my preference. They favor the longer needle white pines. Dave has been quietly suggesting one for years and last year Abby got on board and they conspired to make me agree to a white pine this year. The deal was, they would consent to the canaan fir (last year) as long as I promised not to argue against the white pine this year. So, that's how it went down. 

We now have a white pine. And even though the type of tree had been decided long before, it was still a process choosing just the right one. I wish I could say my kids have begun to fight less as they've gotten older, but that isn't the case. I actually think it's gotten worse as they've matured and spent less time together. Don't get me wrong, they still have great times together and I believe, overall, they have a good relationship. It's just that they've always been very different and those differences sometimes cause tension, especially now when they are in early adulthood developing their own views and opinions on life. 

Oh,  the joys of learning how to parent and NOT parent young adult children! 

The moral of the story: Even amidst the drama that accompanies cutting down a Christmas tree, it's a tradition I hold dear to my heart. I love the not-so-perfect together time and the joy of having a real tree in our home, even if it's a white pine! I realize the type of tree isn't what's important. This whole process of agreeing on a tree serves as a reminder that we are a family. A family that is made of different likes and dislikes. One that is unique, not like another. One that is mine. 

And so, I will delight this year in the twinkling lights of our freshly cut white pine, tucking my thoughts of a canaan fir in the back of my mind until next year.

How about you? Do you celebrate Christmas with a real tree? 

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