O Christmas Tree

Oh, wouldn't it be great to head out to one of the many local Christmas tree farms and cut down our own tree this year? We could come home and decorate it together. What a great Saturday! I can hear the Christmas carols in the background and smell the apple cider on the stove. The laughter. The memories.

{Scritchy-scratchy noise as we cut to reality.}
My children are complaining about turning off the cartoons and my husband won't get off his phone. I try to cheery-disposition my way through it. The kids are excruciatingly cranky and tired from our Thanksgiving travels and will not stop bickering over EVERYTHING. My 7 year old asks if he haaaas to go. I'm mouth-breathing. I trip over the Legos that never get picked up from the dingy "white" living room carpet I keep meaning to shampoo, and I am suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I will have 16 out-of-state house-guests this Christmas - which is only a couple of weeks away. Amidst my face-in-the-carpet epiphany, my boss texts and asks if I can log-into work right away to handle an urgent request. I'm googling nervous breakdown symptoms.

An hour later and a 15-mile drive through some of the most beautiful Oregon countryside you will ever see (while I try to tune-out my children and silently curse myself for skipping morning coffee) and we're at a glorious tree farm amidst the rolling forests. 
Patches of white fog sweep through the acres of green jutting up to the misty, gray skies. For the 5th time I explain to my son that the fog is not "controlled burns." Why do I keep trying?We tromp through the sloppy mud and pick a tree from hundreds of beautiful ones that all look the same.

There's fighting over hot chocolate, over who can help carry the saws, over who gets to walk in front. Neither child wants a picture with Santa, or even to talk to him. My husband exudes impatience. 

Wait now, we still have a tree nearly sliding off the top of the car, so very much mud and pine needles on that "white" carpet, too small of a tree stand, too big of a tree for the room, broken Christmas lights, me decorating the tree solo, and of course, endless more bickering to endure before this Saturday will come to a close. {Sigh}

Instead of simply sharing the lovely green photos, one of which 2 out of 3 people even managed a smile in, I feel apt to admit that real-life is sometimes less than picturesque. 

If there's no cocoa or carols for you, if your favorite ornaments get broken or you're decorating alone this year... if there's just a lot of mud, take heart friend. May the hope of Christmas seep in to calm our stress and comfort our hearts.

Merry Christmas.