There is something magical about the holiday season. Yet, too often, we get lost in the shopping, in the family commitments, in the concerts and after-school events, in the hustle and bustle of the season, that we lose the magic. My goal is always to see the holiday season as a magical time – to see the holidays through a child’s eyes. And perhaps one of the greatest and most magical parts of the holiday season is that of the Christmas tree.
I am fortunate enough to get to see that magic on a daily basis at our family-owned Christmas tree farm. Christmas tree season is a very busy time for us – my husband and I both work other jobs and then we spend our weekends selling trees, so we truly work 7 days a week from Thanksgiving week all the way up to Christmas. But, I love it, because there is something about the excitement in a family when they pick out their tree.
Rooted In Happiness
Rarely do people come to buy a tree when they are in a bad mood. And almost always, the togetherness of searching for a tree means they leave the farm happier than when they left. There is so much joy in looking for a Christmas tree, and I love that I get to be a part of that joy. We have had couples get engaged at our farm, couples who make their pregnancy announcements out among the trees, families taking their holiday photos, and best of all, I get to watch families pick out a tree that will be a centerpiece of their holiday traditions.
Children get out of their cars with a wonder in their eyes. While I talk to parents about what types of trees we have and other logistics, the kids are observing – looking near and far, taking in the awe of the farm and waiting in eager anticipation to go find their perfect tree. The siblings bickering are adorable. Last weekend I had a little boy proudly tell his sister that he “found the best and biggest tree,” and the little girl was so sad that she didn’t find it that she started to cry. Her parents swooped in and said they were going to find a tree as a whole family, and after a hike through the tree farm, they came back with a both beautiful tree and a beautiful group of smiles.
Focus on the Wonder
My husband and I took our two sons to pick out a tree this weekend as well. Henry, my toddler, ran from tree to tree looking. “This one,” “No wait mommy, this one!” He was so enthusiastic and eager. Every tree was “the tree” – the tree that would perfect our holiday decorations. It didn’t matter if the trunk was lopsided, or if their was a giant hole on one side of the tree, or if the tip was lop-sided. To him, he just wanted a tree. A tree that he could make more beautiful with decorations. A tree that would be the perfect place for Santa to put presents. And most of all, a tree that my family could gather around, look at the decorations in wonder, and celebrate our togetherness, our family, and the meaning of the holidays.
As my husband cut down the tree, Henry squealed in delight. He picked up the stump of the tree and proudly walked towards the house! He couldn’t wait to decorate it as a family. In three days, he has decorated that tree five times….in five different ways. Each time, he calls my husband and I into the room, so that we can decorate as a family. He takes all the ornaments back off, and then on they go again. And each time, it is magical to him, each time it is perfect.
My Christmas Tree Take-Aways
Each year, as I go through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I try to stay rooted in the magic of the season, and the magic of the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree has a lot of meaning to it, and I try to keep those takeaways with me:
- Just as those hunting for trees leave the farm a little happier than they were when they arrived, I want to be a presence in the holidays that brings happiness and joy to those around me. “Leave others happier than when you arrived” is a good way to remember it.
- There is no one best tree, and there is no one best present. The beauty of the tree (and the holiday) is what you make of it.
- Trees are imperfect, just as people are imperfect. If we choose to focus on those imperfections, we aren’t seeing the potential that lies beneath. Children see past the “holes” in the tree, and instead find something that is beautiful. Do the same with your family and friends.
- Look at the holidays in the same awe and wonder that a child looks at their tree.
- Decorating the tree should be about family. The holiday should be about family. It’s not the money spent, the presents, or the big meal that matter – its about getting together with those you love, gathering as a family, sitting around a tree, and relishing in the magic of the season.
Happy Holidays, everyone. Enjoy the magic!