I realize that not everyone celebrates Christmas. I have no trouble putting my head around the idea that most of the world’s population doesn’t believe in the immaculate birth of Jesus or even in the sacred maxing out of credit cards for plastic toys and cheap rum in late December. Those who do celebrate live all around the world, so there are plenty of Christmas revelers rockin’ around a palm tree or building sandcastles instead of snowmen. Despite the movies and songs about the season, it’s clear to any logical person that Christmas is not just a season expressed in gently falling snow and presents ’round a pine tree. But! If you are from a northern clime, celebrate Christmas, and have the space and money for it, I don’t see how you can go through your whole life without once cutting down your own tree.
I recently learned that one of my friends, who is from Michigan, has never cut down her own tree. Not only that, she’s only ever had artificial trees. Her family was worried about fire hazards, and I get that, but if you’re vigilant about keeping the tree watered and turning off the tree lights when you leave the house, a real tree is safe. And if you’re from Michigan, there are hundreds of places to go where you can select your own tree from a planted forest of them, which is a whole level of fun and adventure you can’t get from going to a lot.
I was in my hometown this past weekend for a couple of events, and while I was there, my parents and I got a tree. After an early setback (the first place we drove to was “closed for the season” — before Christmas?), we went on to Peacock Tree Farm in Laingsburg. Snow really was gently falling, so softly and slowly that I could inspect the individual flakes on my coat and see how different they were from one another. Not too many people were there, since a week before Christmas is too late for most folks (which is probably why the other place was closed), but we liked it that way. Just some fresh-faced workers, several red-nosed families, and a few eager dogs. I took some video of the afternoon so we can all take a look at what it’s like to cut down your own tree and get it back home for decorating. Don’t forget the egg nog.
I’ll be back in 2012 with more photos, essays, travel guides, guest posts, and interviews. Just nine months til I take off on my world trip–glad to have you readers along for the ride. Have a safe and restful holiday and see you in the new year!