Holly Jolly Christmas bellowed through the minivan as we pulled into the Christmas tree farm the day after Thanksgiving, circa 1999. The sun sparkled on snow-covered pines giving even greater meaning to the joyful lyrics on the radio.
Our littles who were 2, 4, and 6 years old at the time squealed with delight in anticipation of the big tree cutting adventure. This would be the first of what has become a 19-year family tradition. The hallmarks of our annual quest include snowball fights, hide-n-seek, snow angel making, and large doses of hot chocolate and powdered donuts.
Of course, the actual cutting down of the tree is the main event. Each kid takes a turn sawing the trunk, followed by the hubs whose final strokes bring the tree to a thud on the white stuff below. Oohs and awes echo across the landscape every time.
Year after year the memories have stacked up. I’ve snapped pics of flying balls of snow and faces showing both laughter and tears when someone took a shot to the face. Countless photos captured my little lumber jacks grinning under the tree as they managed the saw despite being bundled from head to toe in winter gear. Some of my favorites are the pictures of rosy cheeks and lips covered in chocolate mustaches and powdered sugar.
There’s something about family traditions that simultaneously melt our insides and fill our heart to overflowing. We look forward to the events each year, while also wondering how in the world so many days screamed by in between.
While time seems to stand still in the moments we cut down trees, bake cookies, decorate the house, or spend an evening caroling through town, the hourglass still drops sand. Some of us may wonder if our traditions will reach an end point when our littles become bigs. Since I’ve reached this stage of parenting young adults, I can share what I’ve experienced.