I am intrigued by traditions. I’m always interested in learning how they start, how they perpetuate, how they morph and how they die away or are replaced by new traditions. Holidays are a particularly fun time to start new traditions or to cherish the old ones that have continued sometimes for generations.
Our first Christmas together as a married couple filled me with both excitement and a small degree of sadness. My parents had sold the house I grew up in and I knew that year I would never again pull into my driveway to see the hand painted wooden manger scene on the front lawn or the tree glowing in the same window it had always stood throughout my entire life thus far. The ceramic nativity my mom had hand painted years ago had crumbled into disuse and although I inherited my mom’s ceramic house display, there was nowhere in our small apartment to display them. That year I packed up a box of ornaments from my former home and brought them to my new home to be hung on my newlywed Christmas tree.
That first year my husband and I decided that we preferred a real tree to an artificial one. We were living in Pitman at the time and there was a little tree lot not too far from our apartment complex. It seemed as good a place as any to pick up a tree and since it was close by we wouldn’t have to spend too much time driving with a tree strapped to the roof of our tiny Toyota Corolla. After the always difficult task of selecting the perfect tree we decided we needed some sustenance before completing the next task of setting said tree up in our living room. There was a Chinese restaurant close to the tree lot so for convenience sake we stopped there, had dinner and then went home to enjoy our very first Christmas tree as a married couple. The next year we did the same.
The first Christmas after we moved from our apartment into our house (not near Pitman) we stared at each other blankly trying to figure out where we were going to get our tree now. We finally decided that since we were so comfortable with that little tree lot near our now former apartment we would take the drive there, purchase our tree and stop for Chinese food and so a tradition was born. Although we don’t reside near that particular Christmas tree lot we return each year, pick out our tree and reward ourselves with some yummy dinner afterward. It is something we both look forward to and Christmas wouldn’t seem the same now if we did anything else, though like all traditions I am sure this too has the potential to morph, die away and/or be replaced by something new in the future.
|We arrive at the lot.|
|So many trees. They always look smaller at the lot and bigger in the house.|
|We found it! Our 2012 tree.|
|The tree gets a trim.|
|The Element makes driving the tree around a piece of cake.|
|Time to eat!|
|I have pad thai.|
|2012 Christmas Tree is complete.|
|Not only does Emma insist on hanging out under the tree, she insists on hanging out under the tree skirt.|