In 2011, however, the possibility of the twins' dining on Douglas fir wasn't nearly as great. Therefore, we reinstated our tree tradition and bought a beautiful 7 footer from the farm down the road. We decked it out with our least prized ornaments (just in case a cat or kid sent them all crashing onto the hardwood floor). It was wonderful to see the twinkling lights on the tree's fresh boughs, and we enjoyed the delightful smell only a real tree can offer.
The girls really loved the tree. Every morning, they would come downstairs and say "Light on. Mommy, tree on!" Same drill after coming home from daycare in the evenings. If we didn't hop to it and flip the switch to turn on the dancing white lights, tantrums would surely ensue. Trust me. No degree of Christmas caroling can effectively drown out my kids yelling in stereo.
Despite the tree's beauty and the girls' fascination with all its decor, there is only so much Christmas clutter that I can take in my house after the happy holiday has passed. My need for organization forces me to instate serious Christmas clean up before the New Year arrives. And, that's exactly what we did.
We took off all the ornaments, unwound strand after strand of lights and put them all in our big (now overflowing) storage boxes. Avery and Lexie "helped," which really means that they took more stuff out of the boxes than they put it them, but they were so proud of themselves in their Santa's helper hats that I couldn't possibly be mad. See!
Don't let their cuteness fool you. I did have to break up one near fight when Lexie tried to wrap up her sister in tissue paper and put her in the box just like "Jesus and his family" from our manger scene. Of all the things I thought I might have to reprimand them for during the packing process, this was not one of them. Oh well... Now I know for next year!
Because the girls had loved the tree so much, we didn't want to tell them, "Yeah, sweeties, we're just gonna chuck it with the trash." The screams would've been deafening. Instead, Geof came up with a brilliant idea: "Let's tell them we're going to take the tree back to its family." Perfect.
Before the sun set on 2011, we bundled up Avery and Lexie in their warmest coats (think Ralphie) and convinced them to wear their new winter hats for a great journey into the woods behind our house. Avery will not keep anything on her head - except maybe a blanket when she's pretending to be a ghost at Halloween and inevitably runs into something - for more than 3 seconds. The fact that she wore the purple hat with the pom pom for the entire outing shows that she would abide by any rules to send the tree off on a high note.
Appropriately dressed for the chill outside, the girls and I watched as Geof heaved our now crunchy Christmas tree through the surprisingly narrow sliding glass door onto the deck. There, the girls paused for a picture with their beloved tree and told it to "go see fa-mah-wee."
The next sight had to be the funniest. Geof was in front carrying our tree like a lumberjack under his arm through the backyard and into the woods. Avery was tottering behind him, but her little legs couldn't quite keep pace with him even though he was toting a very large tree. Lexie was trying to keep up with Avery but managed to find every small hole and trip on it during the pursuit. I was bringing up the rear laughing at everyone and trying to capture the moment on video. I can only imagine what our neighbors were thinking...
Once we finally made it into the thicker tree line of the woods, Geof put down the tree, so the twins could give it nice "pat pats," shower it with kisses and tell it good-bye. At this point, the girls' hats had wiggled down almost over their eyes, and they had to tilt their heads back to see me to yell "Cheese!"
With a final farewell, Geof heaved the tree like a giant javelin into the woods. As luck would have it, the tree landed at an angle against another tree. Geof told the girls, "See, it missed its family, and they're so happy our tree is back home that they're hugging." Well played, Daddy.
The good thing about permanently disposing of your dead Christmas tree in your backyard is that if you're really bored with your kids and can't think of anything else to do to entertain them, you can always go visit the tree and its family. You just have to bundle up first!