Like many things in life, traditions tend to grow, change and evolve as time goes on. (Disclaimer: traditions are amazing, but can be a little bit stressful as well). Traditions are a beautiful thing; they can make the holidays special and help ease some holiday stress, as they can give us a sense of comfort by helping us know what to expect. But, they can also add a lot of pressure. If you try to maintain the same traditions every year, you often feel the need to replicate those past experiences and moments each time, creating expectations for those traditions that can sometimes be based on blurry childhood memories and therefore unattainable or impossible to reproduce. I know this is kind of sounding a little “bah humbug” of me, but just wait I promise this will become a little more uplifting.
Every Christmas my family treks out into the “country” (I’m using scare quotes here because it seems the suburbs are now within clear sight of our tree farm spot) and, we search for that perfect tree. It’s always been an event! When I say event, I really mean it. Like find your old boots that were buried in the basement even though they are now housing spiders and their spider baby eggs; put on your ugliest winter clothes (brightly coloured track pants seem to have become apart of the tradition) and get ready to “hike” through the tree farm.
We always go out as far as possible, as if there is no possible way that there can be any good trees near the front. Oh no, the “good” ones are at the farthest possible point on the farm. The best part about this is that if you don’t take the tractor ride, some one has to carry that tree all the way back to the parking lot.
This whole thing was, and still is, hilarious to my sister and I. We laugh about the years of getting lost on lonely one lane highways looking for tree farms, we giggle at our parents’ outfits and of course the general insanity that is this tradition. The funny part about all of this is that I kind of understand the insanity now that we have our own family and go out to find our own little tree. We too got lost trying to find the farm this year, even though we’ve been going to the same place for years, and I had a really hard time picking a tree (it’s as if the search becomes more difficult the longer you look, forcing you to keep trekking out further).
When we got home the tree trimming and decorating was the next leg of the race, something we all did together. Again, this was an event. We placed each meaningful ornament on the tree even when we begged our mom to make the tree more “stylish” or themed. My mom was very diligent about making sure all the “special ones” were hung, even if those special ones were wonky macaroni wreaths we made in school. She was always reminding us of these special moments in our lives; our family history.
Over the years, our little family tradition has changed and evolved; my husband’s parents, my sister’s boyfriend and my nonna come with us now and we too have our own home and family tree. These things have only added to a tradition we’ve always secretly cherished. And while I cannot replicate every memory from this tradition and make it exactly the same in my own home, I do hope to pass on the love that my parents shared when we all went out to find a tree together and every painted macaroni wreath was hung on our family tree’s branches to my own children.