Tuesday, December 8, 2015

O Christmas Tree

Each ornament on the tree is a memory: of the one who gifted it, of the place where we purchased it, or of the child who made it. As my grandson and I lovingly hung each decorative item, with Christmas music playing in the background, I recalled the stories. A beautiful tradition. It began earlier in the day with a visit to Old Homestead Tree Farm, our favorite Christmas tree place. There you can choose from a variety of fresh pre-cut trees or cut your own from their large selection of Douglas Fir, Concolor Fir, Blue Spruce, Fraser Fir or Canaan Fir. We checked the appearance of each type of tree on display.

'The best Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature.' ~Andy Rooney

We decided to stick with our favorite, the Fraser Fir, having chosen this type for the past several years. As stated on the Old Homestead website:

'Also known as "Southern Balsam," this stately fir, native to the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, is closely related to its northern counterpart.  Its soft, emerald-green needles with silvery undersides are about three-quarters of an inch in length.  Its bottlebrush texture, sturdy branching, and outstanding needle retention make it a superb Christmas tree whose popularity has grown rapidly in recent years.'

 We climbed the hill to the area where the Fraser Firs grow and began our search.

Jonathan found the perfect tree, measuring it to make sure it wasn't too tall. Pappy sawed it down then pulled it back to the barn on the tree cart. The tree farm provided the measuring stick, saw and cart.

'Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.'  
~Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas

 'The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!' 
 ~Charles N. Barnard

Back at the barn, they shook and baled the tree ...

                             ... then drilled it, making it ready for use in our pin tree stand.

We hurried home to decorate it. The tree looks lovely in its Christmas finery. Now all it needs are some presents underneath.

'He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.' 
~Roy L. Smith

Each year, when Christmas is over and it is time to remove the tree we turn it into an outdoor bird feeder. We roll pine cones in peanut butter and hang them on the tree. We attach fruit rind and whole oranges to the branches. We thread peanuts with twine to make garlands. Sometimes we add suet balls and seed cakes.

 Then we sit back and watch the birds (and squirrels) enjoy the feast!

In my December article for the Pocono Record newspaper I give hints on how to choose, set up, care for and dispose of a real Christmas tree. Also, I show how to plant a live tree. The article, published on December 12, is entitled 'The Real Thing.'

Today, H.H. and I drive to Philadelphia for the reception at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society that I wrote about in my last posting, My Award Winning Garden.  (I haven't quite gotten over the shock yet.) We will return to little more than two weeks in which to finish all the holiday preparations -- its coming quickly this year. When Jon stayed with us last week, however, we not only worked on the Christmas tree, but also baked the plum/Christmas pudding, made mincemeat for the pies, and made the traditional English Christmas cake ready for our family celebration here on Boxing Day. Still lots to do, though.

'The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.' ~Burton Hillis

I hope you like the quotations I found for this posting. What is your favorite tradition this holiday season?

Pamela x

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  1. I love your tree and that you went to a tree farm and picked out the one you wanted. No such farms like that in s.e. FL. :-)

    Happy Christmas holidays ~ FlowerLady

  2. Pam, your tree looks incredible. I love your pictures the tree farm. What a wonderful day you have shared with us.

  3. Never heard of Fraser Fir, I'm sure it's the best.
    I see you had a busy day, good girl getting your tree now. I'm a little slow getting into the spirit but getting there.

    1. I don't usually get the tree right after Thanksgiving, Patsi, but that's when my grandson came to stay, so decided to do it early. There's nothing like it for getting you into the spirit! x

  4. What a beautiful tree and I love that you chose the exact one you wanted from the farm. We have an artificial tree, I'd love a real one but we just don't have the room at the moment.

  5. Congrats on your award winning garden. Your tree is lovely decorated too. I worked at my friends tree farm for many years each Christmas. I loved being around all the joy the trees brought the kids when they selected their tree to be cut and as the guys readied the tree for the trip home. A fun experience for all. Merry Christmas Pam.

  6. what fun for you to pass on the family traditions to your grandson!

  7. It looks wonderful Pam. I wish we had a real tree, for the delicious smell and to be able to set it out for the birds after the holidays, but we have been satisfied with our little pre-lit, artificial tree and the cats leave it alone for the most part.

  8. Congratulations again on your award winning garden, you so deserve it! I loved reading about your Christmas tree shopping, and the decorating and preparations, so lovely!

  9. Your tree looks stunning, and I think your idea of using it as an outdoor bird feeder after Christmas is brilliant. I think I will have to copy this idea. Well they do say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

  10. Sounds like a lovely day picking out the tree and decorating it! And what a great tradition to re-decorate it afterwards for the birds! This year we chose a little live tree, as we won't be around as much for Christmas (traveling to see family), and has been so warm lately that we shouldn't have too much trouble planting it afterwards (hopefully). Congratulations on your garden award! You definitely deserve it!