Nathan and I have always envied those people with snow-covered cars and SUV’s, barreling down the Carolina mountains with freshly-cut Fraser Firs strapped snugly to their roofs. As much as we enjoyed the ease of our branch-by-number artificial guy, it just wasn’t the same as that. It was as if you could hear families caroling and Clark Griswold commentary with every passing vehicle, and there was something so inherently CHRISTMAS about the whole ordeal. We wanted it. We wanted it bad.
So, being in the new house and so close to the mountains, we both knew that this was the year... The year of the pick & cut tree! The year of new traditions! After a lot of research on the “perfect” place to go, we finally settled on Tom Sawyer’s Tree Farm and took off last Saturday.
Once we arrived at the farm, we decided to take the kids through the Elf Village to get them in the spirit. Although you can actually borrow clothes and dress like elves, Caroline and Tyler were uninterested… they had a one-track mind that lead straight to SANTA!
On the way up to Glenville we wrote out their wish-lists, so they were beyond excited to show them to Santa. Watching them explain the things on their list to Santa was my favorite part, like when “Ninja Turtle Communicator” was mistaken for “Ninja Turtle Phone"… which Tyler was swift to correct old St. Nick. Get it right, big guy.
Other parts of the Elf Village were so cute! We made special ornaments…
Pretended to be Elves…
Listened to Christmas stories…
Roasted marshmallows for s’mores…
And played on the slides…
Afterwards, we meandered up to the “office" for hot apple cider and sugar cookies. We even briefly considered taking off with one of the already-cut trees (they were so pretty!), but decided that would defeat the whole point of the Griswold-experience… so NO! Caroline and Tyler had fun playing in them either way. :)
With semi-full bellies, we decided it was time to check out the tree farm. On our way over, though, we caught sight of beautiful black stallions and a horse-drawn carriage. Clearly that had to happen, too.
Finally, FINALLY!!, it was time to PICK OUT OUR TREE!! We grabbed our tag, a measuring stick, and set off to find “the one.”
We walked and measured, walked some more, then walked and measured again. Ultimately, though, we came back to the same tree time after time. We knew she was THE CHOSEN ONE. Our inaugural baby.
At last, we were that family singing carols down the mountain with a Fraser Fir strapped to our roof. It was both cliché and glorious.
You see that smile on Caroline’s face? She was so happy…
YET SO VERY TIRED. Christmas cheer will slam wear you out. Tyler fought a hard fight and pushed through, however.
At home a few hours later, everyone got their second wind (thankfully). Having never dealt with a 9’ live tree, though, we weren’t equipped with a big enough stand or enough lights, so I had to make two Lowe’s runs (one for the stand, then one more for more lights). No, we did not think ahead. Pure dedication to the cause, I tell you.
With a substantial base and 1,000 twinkling lights at home, I got to work stringing and let the kids start with the decorations. They were so stinking cute I couldn’t stand it… and only moderately lost my mind over the low-hanging heavy ornaments that crowded the bottom. (Once a perfectionist, always a perfectionist - but I’m trying.)
The excitement on their faces more than made up for it all, of course.
The final product has lots of of glittery goodness oozing from all over, but honestly, these two are the tree’s best accessories:
All in all, we made exactly the memories we intended and Nathan & I are truly excited for Tom Sawyer’s to be part of our family Christmas traditions. Everything about it was so much fun for the kids… both big AND small. :) Tis the season!