I think we've discovered a new Christmas tradition. We've bought a real tree each year for a while now, but always from the hardware store or a roadside tent. And I've always been one to wait a little longer to put one up for the season, adamant about making a separation between Advent and Christmas. But life changes and I decided I wanted to soak up every moment of the holidays I could with the kids, so this year we made a trip out to Divine Acre Farms
the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
I don't recall ever having a live tree growing up, but I did have a childhood friend who always had one. I remember the scent and playing with our little toys in the pine needles on the floor. It's funny how simple memories like that make their way into our minds. But the memories we keep are so often about the emotions they evoke, aren't they? I think that might be why, despite the perceived hassle of picking out and hauling it home (let alone cutting one down--and then wrestling with the tree stand!), I've made it a point to buy a live one for so long now. And I've always read that it's friendlier for the environment, which pulls at my heartstrings, of course.
We made the trip out with my sister and her boyfriend (thank you Cliff, for doing all the hard work!). And after wandering through rows and rows of trees, we found one that was just right for us. We took a tractor ride back to the main grounds and played for the rest of the afternoon before heading back home.
If you're looking for a budget-friendly holiday activity and you'll be buying a live tree anyway, I highly recommend visiting your local tree farm. Cutting down your own chops down the price a bit, too.
It did take me another day or two to get the lights on (my old ones were half dead which required another trip to Target). And this year I let the kids go to town with the ornaments while I looked on. I think it turned out pretty perfect.