One of the things we hear a lot at The Living Christmas Company is "...but our family tradition is to go and pick out a tree together!" or "we go to this special location in the mountains and we can cut our own tree, we do it every year!"
I think traditions are great! They keep cultures alive and meaningful. Sometimes, however, I think we can adjust our traditions, and make them our own. For example:
Joe and Betty always bought a cut tree for Christmas. They'd pack up the kids, go down to the nearest lot and together pick out the best, most beautiful tree ever. It was their tradition. They'd bring it home, put lights and decorations on it, and for a while it was the centerpiece of their everyday lives. It would be so beautiful, that each time they'd walk past it, they'd smile. There was a feeling of holiday warmth. When Christmas was over and things started to settle down a bit, they'd take off the lights and ornaments and drag it out to the curb to be picked up. That's just how it went, and that was fine, and yet...the tree always looked a little sad lying there on the street. The color seemed drained out, it no longer sparkled with twinkling lights, and the needles had started falling off. (In fact, Betty would be sweeping up needles for weeks.)
The next year, Joe and Betty went online and found http://livingchristmas.com/. It was a little bit more expensive, but on the upside, there was no strapping the tree to the roof of the car or trying to squeeze it into one of those tree stands with the water pan. Scotty Claus's elves delivered the tree and set it up right where they wanted it. Although it was different from the trees that were at the lot, it was still full and beautiful. Joe and Betty winked at each other, knowing they had the only one of it's kind on the block. They put lights and decorations on it and for a while it was the centerpiece of their everyday lives. It was so beautiful that each time they'd walk past it, they'd smile. There was not only that feeling of holiday warmth, but of life. When Christmas was over, instead of dragging it out to the street (trailing needles galore), the elves came back to pick it up and take it to Scotty's Christmas Tree Forest. But wait! Joe and Betty liked that tree so much, they asked if they could have it again next year. After all, it was alive, right? It would in all likeliness still be alive the next year right?
Scotty Claus curled his mustache, and told them "As a matter of fact, you can have this exact same tree next year." He explained that if they just signed up to "adopt" their tree (and they had to make sure they did sign up), that he could have it bar-coded and identified as Joe and Betty's family tree. They could even name their new Christmas-time member of the family. They named her "Gladys", as in "Glad Tidings" or "Glad to have you here."
This year Gladys came home again. Scotty and the elves took care of her all year; she weathered the weather, and was still standing tall. Instead of packing the kids in the car and going to a lot, their new tradition is to have a little family party when Gladys comes back for the holidays, sort of a "Welcome Home/Merry Christmas/Let's Get the Season Started" party. The kids look forward to seeing Gladys again, almost like she's a present in herself...and she is in a way.
Whatever your tradition is, hopefully it is filled with warmth and life. Enjoy your Christmas with friends, family and whomever (or whatever) you consider family (including pets, trees, furniture...).
Do you have a story about your Living Christmas tree? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.