One of the traditions of my family was to stomp off to the forest to obtain a real Christmas Tree. When we lived in Ontario, we had a preferred farm where we loved to go that was right by my Uncle B’s house. We would meet him there with sleds in hand and tromp through the forest looking for the perfect real Christmas tree. Along the walk, we would always debate long-needle (Balsam) or short-needle (Pine). I loved bounding through the snow with Uncle B’s dog and looking at each tree. One year, we got one with a bird’s nest in it (by accident), other years there would be perfect pinecones in the tree. Keep them as decor or strip them off? It was always a great debate.
In the foothills of Alberta, there are no Christmas tree farms. Basically, you obtain a permit from the Sustainable Resource Development office, and hike into the bush to find a tree. You look for trees not growing in clumps for a tree that is nice and bushy. In years past, there was not much snow and this made looking easy. However, for the great search of 2013, we had several feet of snow and decided to go out on arguably one of the coldest days of winter so far (-30C, or -22F).
We elected to leave Miss P at home with grandma and took Mr J and hit the road to Christmas Tree Land. We turned on the Sirius XM “Pops” which was playing amazing classical Christmas music. The view wasn’t half bad either.
We only stayed outside of the car for about 10 minutes at a time due to the extreme cold but we managed to take a few snaps while we were searching. You know it is extreme cold, when the snowdog yelps at getting his feet in the snow – that’s literally how fast it was freezing between his toes. You have to be careful to watch people’s faces to see how they are reacting to the cold – tingles and very red show that hypothermia is setting in.
After checking a few of our favourite spots along the Athabasca River, we found a tree and proceeded to saw into it with a hack saw. After about 20 passes and elbow grease, TIMBEEERRRRRRR! The pine tree was ours for a pretty little Christmas tree.
We hauled her to the car and tossed her into the back with a little muscle, and headed home for hot chocolate. We enjoyed whipped cream and a marshmallow for all of our hard work!
Real Christmas Tree Care
We leave our tree outside for a day or two to let it drain any excess sap out. Then we bring the tree in and place in our stand with water with a little sugar (or 7UP or Sprite if you have it) to keep it looking fresh. Make sure you check your tree to see if it needs water during the day as it tends to be very thirsty at the beginning. Check for sap leakage (no one likes sticky presents) and also tidy those fallen needles. I like to keep my vacuum plugged in nearby for easy cleaning.
Christmas Party – Momstown Burlington
Miss O, the hubby and myself had the pleasure of attending our very first Momstown Burlington Annual Christmas Celebration this weekend. It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning together as a family. There was so much to see and do! The event was sponsored by Brook Dyson of Edward Jones. There was a demo by Monkeynastix, delicious cupcakes by Sweet Obsessions, free coffee & hot chocolate from ECS Coffee and circle time was run by Miss Amber of Lakeshore West Music Together. Miss O has been to a couple of events where Miss Amber was running circle time – she is quite fond of Miss Amber (particularly the egg shakers and Miss Amber’s renditions of Itsy Bitsy Spider & Twinkle Twinkle Little Star).
As Miss O was just getting over a cold she was still a bit sleepy & moody throughout the morning. She wasn’t overly excited at the sight of santa arriving nor did she particularly want to sit on his lap. She wasn’t as excited as usual when Miss Amber started circle time – she was content to just sit and watch and shake her egg shaker. We gave her a mini cupcake which she ate because, well, she eats just about anything you feed her. Normally she’s a big fan of cupcakes but feeling under the weather just made her much less excitable.
Miss O played a little bit with the fantastic sensory bin full of Christmas tree decorations – she liked the fuzzy ones and the sparkly ones the best. She also had a lot of fun decorating cookies and making a bracelet with daddy. She also got to try her very first candy cane! She was much happier towards the end of day – probably from all the sugar that daddy fed her! She took a nice, long nap after we got home – Momstown events always tire her out and for that I am eternally grateful.
Make Your Own Tradition
- Source a Christmas Tree Farm, or forest to obtain a real tree.
- If you can’t participate in obtaining a real tree – Build your own Christmas Tree
- Host your own Christmas Party with family & friends: Whoville Party, Cocoa & Cookies, Gingerbread Man
Andrea can always be found with a new craft in front of her, a form of technology on her right and a coffee on her left. This is how she survives suburbia with her two crazy toddlers in tow.