I’ve been looking forward to it all week – cutting my Christmas tree! There’s a nice little fir tucked up under a big Ponderosa down my back hill, and the cute little fir can’t stay there, both of them can’t stay there and keep being pretty so one has to go. It’s been years since I put up a tree, and when I did it was always a live one, but this one is sacrificing itself for a good cause, and will bring its soft green and scrumptious fragrance into the house to share the holiday with me.
From a secular point of view, the holidays are all about anticipation. Waiting to put up the tree, to string the lights on the house, to mail packages, to receive packages. When we were little kids, we looked forward to just getting the decorations OUT, tucked up in the attic all year, just waiting for Christmas. We waited anxiously for the time to go to Grandmother’s house and make sugar cookies. She’d have the dough all ready when we got there. She rolled it out for us to cut and decorate. There were the standards, a gingerbread man, stars, hearts, and, for some reason, a turkey cookie cutter. She provided all the pretty sprinkles, little red hots, and raisins, and we made a fine mess. She made goodies at Christmas, too – fruit cake and divinity and the best Christmas dinner. We had good grandparents, but I’ll save that for another story.
I remember Dad coming home one day with a box of little kids boots, someone from work was giving them away. The was a size for all of us and a couple extras. There was a cute red pair that was too big for me. I don’t remember how many years I anticipated growing into those boots but one year I finally did – I loved those little red snow boots! Sometimes Dad took us up to Flagstaff for sledding and tubing. As Phoenix kids, we always looked forward to going to Flag, always hoped it would actually be snowing when we got there. They have a great hill in a park up there, always crowded with kids and adults having the time of their lives. I remember lots of crashing and tumbling, but only with the fondest of memories.
The other yearly treat to anticipate was cutting our Christmas tree. It seems we usually dove up to the Payson area. Of course we always hoped there’d be snow, and I don’t remember a trip when there wasn’t any. We tromped around in the snowy woods, each of us giving our opinion as to which was the perfect tree. When one was selected Dad used a little hatchet and cut it down. Since my chainsaw is broken, I guess I’ll be using my little hatchet to cut down the little fir. Then I get to anticipate how pretty it’s going to be set up and decorated, even using a couple of the ornaments from those childhood Christmas trees. I’m going to put up Dad’s train set, too, do the whole decorating thing. I’m sorry Dad won’t get to see the tree lit up and his train running, or hear how much fun I had getting the pretty tree up that hill. He’s been gone two years now. Now that I think about it, the holidays are for remembering, too, good memories and happy times. And we get to anticipate more of those in holidays to come.