Growing up, each Christmas our family got a live tree. My grandparents own a Christmas tree farm in Virginia. Each year, we would go work on the farm to get the trees ready to sell. Being the youngest, I couldn't do much, but I was given smaller tasks. I would pull the little red wagon from the house full of goodies to everyone working, or follow behind whoever was plugging grass and place a single square of toilet paper over the hole to indicate where a new tree was going to go.
My grandparents had beautiful trees, but we always got first pick. Even years later when my grandparents got too old to care for the trees, and sold the rights, they still set aside some trees for our family. My favorite was the white pine, even though they shed and dropped needles everywhere. My mom liked the Douglas Firs, but I thought they were prickly and hurt. Every year we'd get our tree, and hang it up. One year, the cat attacked our tree three times.
In 2002, back when I was still with the ex, I had just moved into a dumpy little duplex in Charleston, SC. We didn't have a dime to our name or furniture for that matter. One of the fellow seaman and his wife gave us an old plaid orange couch and chair that had once been in a fraternity house. (True Story) The couch had no springs left in it, and was hideous to say the least. However, I was just grateful for something to sit on.
It resembled something like this. I'm just too lazy at the moment to bring out the old pics. Anywho, that year, my mom found 5ft tall Christmas trees on sale at Kmart on black Friday, 2002 for $20. She bought my sisters and I a tree. I remember what a sweet little tree it was that first year. Two states away, pregnant and on bedrest, I'd have that tree on 24/7. It felt like it was a little piece of home in my new home.
10 years, 4 kids, and another husband later, the tree still stands. Mr. Man and I have discussed getting a new tree. In fact, last year, he changed out a good 100+ light bulbs on our $20 Kmart tree. This year, as I got it out, I complained more bulbs were out, but I was wrong. There's just that few lights on it.
This year may be our final year for our little tree. The branches are droopy and spread out. There's huge gaps in between the different pieces. Mr. Man said he doesn't see any of that, and he feels like for $20 it's a steal. After Christmas, our sweet tree will be disappearing to the Good Will, and I will feign ignorance next year when we can't find our Christmas tree.
Tonight, we took the boys to see a living nativity at First Baptist Church in a town nearby. I was so excited. This whole month of December, the boys and I have been through the Christmas story piece by piece. We've talked about the Old Testament prophecies leading up Jesus' birth, why Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem, and about how it would be to have a little baby in a stable. I was so excited for them to have a visual at tonight's living nativity. Well, as you know, nothing with kids goes as planned. They thought it was neat that they were asked to sign in and pay a "tax." They thought the towns people with all of their stores were really cool. They wanted to pet the donkeys and the camels. Liam even said the angel was pretty and he wanted to pet her. As we stood by the manager scene listening to the pre-recorded account of Jesus' birth, Kieran declared, "Ewwww! The camel is pooping." Which Cam followed up with, "I just want to see it spit. Camels spit you know." We finished the night by listening to the choir sing Christmas carols. I was standing in the cold thinking how neat it was to be able to worship and was really feeling overwhelmed with the love of the Lord, when a train went by. The boys were completely enthralled and yelling, "Choo choo!" They continued to give a commentary on the train for the next 3 minutes. (It was a really long train) Liam resumed conducting the choir, and the older boys asked Mr. Man if mom was "done yet" because they were cold and hungry.
And for my final Christmas flops.... Tonight, I delivered my batch of Christmas cookies to my girlfriend. I handed her my red paper plate with crinkled foil as she gave me a beautiful Christmas box of butterscotch bars and snicker brownies. She took off the foil and asked if the cookies had mint in them. I was so proud. "Why, yes, there are mint chocolate chip ones." Apparently, putting those cookies in with the others, turned ALL of my cookies into mint cookies. Mint sugar cookies. And mint peanut butter and chocolate cookies. Thankfully, she's my close girlfriend, and we could laugh about it together. By laugh, I mean, shake my head, and want to scream, "I QUIT! I QUIT!!!!!!!!!" lol*
May you all have a very blessed and Merry Christmas. May you keep you sense of humor amidst the flops of the holiday season, and may you never ruin 10 dozen cookies by contaminating them with mint chocolate chip ones.