The most beautiful (crooked) Christmas tree ever..

In a plastic world, I am a hopeless lover of that which is real. Consequently I sit on the real Christmas tree side of the ongoing debate. The smell is infinitely better than any air freshener on the market and I’m even able to overlook the pine needles that inevitably make their way into every room of the house.

Ever since I can remember, my family has cut down our own Christmas tree. It’s tradition. And even though I’m a shaker-upper, this is one tradition I’ve continued to treasure.

Why do we continue to cut our own tree when they are available at practically any street corner in the city? My kids will tell you,

“Because we are team adventurers, that’s why!”

Team Adventurers
Team Adventurers

I’ll never forget the first year I cut down the tree with Rain and Moxie freshly after separating from their dad. I was completely unprepared – no saw, no mitts, no plan of what to do with the tree once it was cut and no idea how freaking hard it can be to cut through a tree trunk (no matter how small!). But we got a little help along the way and ended up with a tree to be proud of!

Christmas 2008
Christmas 2008

This year, on our way to the Christmas tree farm, the elephant that had been hanging out since the first of the holiday season, made an official introduction.

“This will be our first Christmas without Daddy.”

And as much as I had been thinking about this inevitable conversation for months, all I could muster as a response was,


(think Erica…) I added, “So how do you feel about that?”

Their eyes stared at the back of my head in confusion until finally one of them said,

“um.. Sad…?”

Yeah – no shit Sherlock!? geez Erica..

Awkwardly I managed to redeem myself and the conversation turned around. We talked about new and old traditions. I promised to take them to the cemetery to visit their Dad during the holidays.

“Is it okay to leave flowers for him?”
“Of course, I think that’s a wonderful idea.”

Rain and Moxie decided to make a special decoration to honour their Dad this year. I let them know I also had a new tree ornament that could also be in memory of him. I had started thinking about this a little while ago and of course the obvious choice when someone dies is to get an angel decoration. But an angel just didn’t seem right for Jason. And no, not in a negative way, he just wasn’t an angel kind of guy. Thankfully my mom had found us a snowman ornament that was wearing a Maple Leaf jersey. Nice – This was more like him. (Although I now have a sadistic urge to watch Jack Frost, which will inevitably make me sob.  Ever notice how many Christmas movies involve the death and/or demise of parents? Neither did I..).

In any case we soon started singing along to the Sesame Street Christmas tunes and before long we arrived at the farm.

We went straight to the Scotch Pine trees (because Pine is Fine and rhymes with Wine..yes this is actually how I remember what kind to look for) and set to work searching for something we could all agree on. My only criteria is that it must be small enough to fit in my trunk. Yup this is how us city-folk who do not have SUVs do it. And to keep this family rated I will resist every urge not to make a gazillion junk in the trunk jokes.

After a fun hunt through the snow we settled on the perfect tree. A little taller than usual but perfect nonetheless.

I took out my new saw (a gift from my Dad) and started the process of cutting it down. Then Moxie had a turn. Then Rain had a turn. Then I had a turn. And by now we are just barely halfway. I am always amazed at how long it takes us to cut through a little tree trunk (lumberjack may not be my next career move).

Moxie cutting the tree
Moxie cutting the tree
Rain cutting the tree
Rain cutting the tree
Rain amusing himself with snow angels while we cut down this ginormous tree!
Rain amusing himself with snow angels while we cut down this ginormous tree!

TIMBERRRRRRRR – just in time to catch a ride on the wagon.

Back on the wagon with our pine (not wine)
Back on the wagon with our pine (not wine)

The kids played in the snow while I settled the tree tab and got it wrapped up in twine. Then I drag it to my car where I fully realized just how big it was this year.

“Okay kids, so there is a chance that I may need to leave you here for a bit and then come back and get you. Be nice to people and maybe they’ll buy you a hot chocolate!!”
“Sure mom, take your time!”

{no, don’t call CAS – I did not leave them!}

Instead, by Christmas miracle, the tree was crammed in. And despite the fact that the top of the tree was incredibly bent over I figured it was only a 20-minute drive and it would eventually straighten out … right?

How do you get a 6ft tree into the trunk of your car?
How do you get a 6ft tree into the trunk of your car?
You cram it in (with a dash of a Christmas miracle)
You cram it in (with a dash of a Christmas miracle)

Once home I moved the living room furniture around to make room for this crooked beauty. And once I got it in the stand and strung with lights we started to decorate. Now, I see lots of pictures on the covers of magazines and on my daily Facebook feed of truly beautiful and coordinated trees. They are perfectly amazing.

Ours is nothing like that at all.

The majority of our ornaments are made out of construction paper, glitter glue and dried macaroni. The others are Dollarama design specials! Thankfully I do have a growing collection of Artful Clarke originals (thanks Alison!) to balance out the mix.

Our tree is filled with memories, love and Christmas magic (not to mention some elbow grease!). And even though I say this every year, it is truly the most beautiful tree ever.

Erica Richmond @pixiepaperdoll7

"Merry Christmas Dad!"
“Merry Christmas Dad!”

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Lee Piepgrass says:

    Dear Erica,

    Thank you for this, and for all of your lively, sensitive and very real posts. I am a better person for reading these. I too am a hopeless lover of all that is real. How well you put it!!

    All best for a peace-full and lively Christmas!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lee, I am always so happy to hear from you and that you enjoy my posts. Wishing you and your family a most magical Christmas!


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