Because this is our first Christmas in Edmonton after 10 years away, we (OK, I) decided we should have a real tree this year. On Friday, we went on our search with a list in hand of the most popular trees (of course we did research ahead of time; I couldn’t do it any other way).
In the end, we chose a Fraser Fir, because they smell lovely, and their needles are soft rather than sharp. It was snowy and freezing cold with a nasty windchill, but I didn’t care. I was bubbling with excitement. After a quick scan of the trees in the lot, I made my choice; it wasn’t easy though, because all the trees were wrapped with twine, so you couldn’t get an accurate idea of how full they were. Once the choice was made, my husband loaded the tree into the back of the truck, and we set off for home to unload it, set it up and decorate it before our party the next day.
The tree turned out to be just the right height for the living room, but it’s so full on the bottom that Roland (who can now add lumberjack to his list of duties) had to trim a ton of branches so it would fit into the tree stand. I don’t know why, but watching him cut those branches made me terribly uncomfortable. Once the tree was in the stand and ready for decorating, it was easy to see that, despite the inability to see it through the twine binding, I had picked a beautiful tree. The smell of it in my front room makes me sigh with delight.
Decorating our tree that night was such fun. We had all the ornaments we kept from our travels over the years: pewter ornaments from the Christmas Market in Frankfurt, cloisonné tea pots from China, violins from Vienna’s Christmas Market and camel and palm tree ornaments from Abu Dhabi. We also had, for the first time in 10 years, all the ornaments we each brought from our lives before we got together. It was funny and sentimental to see them all after so long. We’d forgotten so much of what we had and when we opened the boxes, there were so many stories to go with those ornaments as well. In the end, it was a good thing we bought such a big tree, because anything smaller wouldn’t have been able to hold everything. Now that the tree is decorated and adorning the corner by the fireplace, I love to sit and look at it (and smell it, too) because it tells the story of our life together. (Sentimental perhaps, but who cares? It’s the holidays.)