We have friends and family with grandchildren who are so excited, they put the tree up at Halloween. Usually by Christmas afternoon, they are sick of the tree.
We wait until the second week of December to get our tree. That’s always a fun day.
We have a tradition of selecting live trees with root balls that we plant on New Years Day.
Years ago we bought our trees from Frye’s Christmas Tree Farm near Burroughs Crossing off of Highway 69.
The first time we went out there, I got to know Mr. Frye and found out that he too was in the Army, and like me he’d spent a Christmas in the Panama Canal Zone.
The trees we bought from him are now well over 30 feet tall.
He got out of the tree business some time back so we had to find a new source for our Christmas trees.
We located a place a few years ago and headed out early to Pine Hill Farms, which is a fitting name because it has rolling hills with row after row of trees of all sizes.
This place was abuzz with tree shoppers who walked among the trees and select the one they wanted. A crew of young folks would then descend on the tree, cut it down or dig it up and load in on the customer’s vehicle.
They had a full sized Christmas sleigh. I quickly coaxed Jilda up on the seat and snapped a photo for our Christmas album. They also have live reindeer, which are somewhat shy, but are a sight to see.
As we wandered among the spruce and cypress, a snowflake as big as a quarter drifted down and kissed Jilda on the chin. Our spirits soared. While we walked, Mother Nature dusted the ground with a layer of snow as fine as face powder.
When we went inside the gift shop to pay, the aroma of hot apple cider drew us to the corner. There is nothing better than hot cider on a cold day.
In addition to waiting to put up a tree, we refuse to listen to Christmas music until December. We dodge radio stations that play holiday music until it’s the holidays.
When we do start playing, the first record we put on is Windham Hill’s December. It’s an album of Christmas music played on a piano without any additional instrumentation. It’s one of the most beautiful collections I’ve ever heard.
When I was growing up, my mom always put her Christmas decorations up the weekend after Thanksgiving.
All the kids, grandkids, in-laws and outlaws gathered to put up mountains of lights, plywood cutouts of snowmen, elves, sleighs, and of course Santa.
My mom would spend weeks prior to Thanksgiving making fruit cakes, banana nut bread, divinity candy, and blocks of fudge as big as a deck of cards. She also made a vat of her world famous Christmas punch, and after the decorations were up, the family would pile into her living room and sugar up.
I feel bad for Thanksgiving. It has always been one of my favorite holidays, but I fear that one day soon it will be known only as Black Thursday where employees are forced to work so that shoppers can fight over cheap flat screen TVs for Christmas.
Call me old fashion, but I’m happy with the notion that holidays are gifts, and for us, it’s not Christmas until December.
Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Happens is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.