I believe we all know the feeling of when something is not quite right. The feeling grows and grows until you decide assertively (sometimes in a matter of seconds) that “No, this just won’t do.” That explains my feeling early Sunday evening as I unpacked the first section of our artificial Christmas tree. I opened the mechanical folding branches, let out a sigh, and that feeling hit me. I didn’t want to have a fake tree anymore.
My home State of Maine is nicknamed “The Pine Tree State” and growing up we always had a real Christmas tree.
For the first many years after we moved here, we rented and outgrew a few different houses while Johnny spent most of his time solely refurbishing our future forever home–the home that his mother grew up in. Those days feel like a blurry whirlwind in many ways… five children in six years, living out of boxes that were in storage somewhere other than where we were living and getting used to a different language and culture. And living on an island takes its own getting used to–off the coast of Ireland or off the coast of anywhere.
It was a wonderful stretching and growing time for us that had the downside of, somewhere along the way, our purchasing a fake tree. Having never had one before, I didn’t know how much I would dislike it but dislike it I do.
Last year’s Christmas tree was a live potted fir we purchased and had sent in from the mainland. It now grows in our garden amidst raspberry and strawberry plants and has been a happy reminder of the past holiday season, although I don’t think it’s perfectly happy with the alkaline soil. Having made no plans for this year’s tree, but under pressure from the children to answer the repeated question of “When are we going to put up the tree?”, the faux fir again made an appearance.
In response to my “sigh,” Johnny had a suggestion. How about we cut a holly tree. “That’s what we did when I was growing up,” he said. I loved the idea so that’s what we did the very next morning.
It was cold and brisk but the sun was shining brightly.
We found a tree we liked immediately but decided to leave it, walk on, and look further into other fields. This extra walking ended up being the best part of the day.
At one point, I wished I had packed a picnic lunch so we could just sit and take in the view. At the very least, a flask of tea would’ve been nice.
The first holly tree we found will be just right so we trekked back to cut it. We planted it in a container of potting soil with some rooting hormone added; it might root, it might not. Either way, we have nothing to lose and possibly a tree gained. After being potted it stands about five and a half feet tall, just the right size. A couple of spots needed some filling in so I cut spare branches for that use and stuck them right into the soil.
We’ve already donated the fake tree and are looking forward to the renewed tradition of having a holly tree each year instead. It’s not the fir tree I grew up with, but it feels just as good as if it were. 🙂
This is a post I wrote last Christmas 2014. My blog was just a month new and I had very few readers. Below is an awesome trio of our jolly holly Christmas tree 2015 while the multi-coloured lights transition between colours.
I hope you’re overflowing with happiness and merriment my friends! Melissa Xx