(This post delayed by flooded apartments and lack of remembering to take a pictute of out decorated tree)
The Christmas tree is probably the most iconic holiday symbol for me. It doesn’t quite feel like Christmas until the tree is up and covered in twinkly lights, my favorite ornaments from over the years tucked away in the branches.
For as long as I can remember, my family has gotten a forest service permit and gone and cut our own tree. It’s a wonderful tradition and I have fond memories of tail-gating with our uncle and cousins, dragging massive 18-ft trees up ravines (the best trees always grow in the bottom of ravines, according to my dad) and coming home frozen, to decorate it.
For all of you fake-tree and Christmas tree lot people, Colorado trees are a little bit different. Topher sometimes fondly, sometimes not so fondly, refers to them as Charlie Brown trees. They’re not the big beautiful West Coast firs you can buy in parking lots and they’re not perfectly symmetrical like their fake wanna-be counterparts, but I think that’s what makes them beautiful none-the-less.
I’ve carried on my family’s tree cutting tradition with Topher and Kenzie the past few years and while its not always the magical, rainbow and butterflies outing I remember it to have been, it feels really good to tramp around the forest, pick out the least Charlie Brown of all the trees, cut it down, strap it to the roof and pray it doesn’t come flying off on the highway.
This year we got our permit from the Pike Ranger District in Fairplay and drove half an hour back towards Denver to get to Lost Creek Road where we cut. The area actually doesn’t have that many trees, its a little prairie-ish in parts (much like beautiful South Park it butts onto) and we drove around for three hours, hiking around looking for the best tree.
Wild trees are imperfect. There’s always bald patches, or the trunk has grown a little wonky. The tree will be completely two-dimensional, lacking branches on the back side or it will be covered in moss.
We finally settled on a “better than anything we’ve seen so far” tree and drug it home.
And that’s where the magic happens.
Because when you get it in your 3×5 spot you had picked out for it, suddenly its the grandest of all the trees and its mighty branches are fighting the wall for space to unfurl and knocking appliances over.
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree. How lovely are your branches.
Share in the magic and cut your own tree this year. It’s $10 of fun you really shouldn’t miss out on!