Saturday, December 19, 2009

O Tannenbaum - Traditions at the Buzzkill

Boxer apparently has a fascination with all things Christmas and specifically - the Christmas tree. So I have taken some shots around Stately Buzzkill Manor of our Christmas decor and which Boxer is welcome to "steal" for her own ammusement. And it moved me to write about some family traditions and why we do what we do.

The Wreath

Here is the wreath for the front door. The Mrs and the pudge made it. She bought one of those wire rings and used scrap branches from the Christmas tree and some holly branches that the pudge and I cut in the woods behind the house. There are a lot of Holly trees (with berries) back there but no fir trees - all broad leaf trees. They made a 2nd, smaller wreath for the mirror in the hallway.

Years ago, my brothers and I had a tradition where we would go into a tract of woods we knew (we use to deer hunt there) a couple of weeks before Christmas and cut greens to make wreaths. It was actually started by our father and we stopped for a while after he passed away. Once my brothers and I had families and homes of our own, we started the tradition again and would go to the woods and cut pine, spruce, holly and laurel and make a bunch a wreaths for our houses. And our mother's house too. The last few times we went we started taking our boys with us. We stopped the tradition about 6 years ago when the woods were developed. The Mrs decided she wanted to start our own tradition with the boys this year - hence the door wreath. We'll see how long this lasts.

The Christmas Tree

Another tradition is getting the Christmas tree. Through most of my childhood, we had an artificial tree that sat in a revolving stand that played electronic Christmas music. Because of this plasticy Christmas, when I set out on my own with my 1st house, I vowed to have a real, cut tree - which I have done every year for the last 25 years.

A friend of mine use to sell them on a vacant lot every year and I would purchase from him. They weren't very good trees but he was a friend. When he stopped selling them, I found a small tree farm (through another friend) that we would take the boys to and cut our own tree. This was a very small farm that you wouldn't know was there if you didn't know it was there. It sits on the side of a pretty good hill and one of our best memories was the time we went after a good snow storm. The boys were able to sled on the hill (with sleds the farmer provided) and we have a great picture of the 2 of them on the sled (Christmas 2002). After a few years, the pickings at the farm got slimmer and the 1 hour ride just didn't seem worth it any more.

At this point the boy was in Little League and their big fund raising event for the year was selling Christmas trees. So we volunteered to help unload the trucks, set up the fencing and tree sands, and sell the trees for several years. As a result we bought our trees there too. The trees were fresh cut from a farm in upstate Pennsylvania, so we knew they were fresh. One time the tractor trailer with the trees got there and was covered with snow. I can't tell you how much snow I had down my back by the time we were done unloading. And the trees were always really nice. As volunteers we could pick through the hundreds of trees (usually 400 - 500) and get really nice trees. The prices were very reasonable and I would even get my mom's tree there too.

Now because it's for Little League, the boys would help sell the trees with their fathers and people would generally tip the boys. So my boy has been selling trees for the Little League (up until this year) for the tip money. He's 16 and hasn't played in the league for 4 years, but they appreciate the help.

So this year we didn't volunteer but we still went there to get our tree. And this is probably one of the nicest trees we've ever had. The boy strung the lights with his girl friend and the Mrs and the pudge put up the ornaments. The best description I can give for the theme of the tree is - eclectic mess. It's just all sorts of different ornaments that weve collected over the decades.

I set up most of the Christmas Village. The village was another tradition started when the Mrs and I were first married in that I would buy the Mrs a new piece every year. I had to stop when the shear volume started getting out of control. The boys like to set up the figurines around the village.

Here are some dark shots that came out so-so.

So that's Christmas decorating at the Buzzkill for 2009. We'll see what traditions we have next year. I hope everyone has a nice holiday.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us.
They're green when summer days are bright;
They're green when winter snow is white.
O, Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!

By the way, we don't actually sing this song around the Christmas tree - ever.


Jenny said...

What a great post - I love starting out with the wreath, the wonderful picture of the boyz on the sled and then.... ba-da-bing! TREES!!!

Thanks! Just in time to be added to the video, which will be up tomorrow for my Mute.

LaDivaCucina said...

Wow, you almost, I said ALMOST make me miss the midwestern Christmas' of my youth! Gosh that sledding looks fun! You really have a lot of lovely traditions,which I think is important if you have kids, it creates those sentimental memories for when they are adults. I love your tree this year, it's so fat and perfect! I like all kinds of trees but ones that are a collection of family bits and pieces are so fun. Merry Christmas Buzz!

moi said...

Love the Christmas Village! And your boys are cute like puppies – those cheeks!

Buzz Kill said...

Thanks. The tree actually came out pretty good this year.

The thing about our traditions is that hey seem to change all the time. Maybe not change - evolve. The free-form tree has always worked for us.

The boys are 7 years older now. They've lost their cuteness.

Dani said...

Such a great post! :) I love the holidays and hearing about how everyone has different ways of celebrating them.