Tree Day 2016

No matter how busy life gets, our family will always make time for our annual Christmas tree excursion.  This December’s weekend commitments included soccer games, horse chores, birthday parties, book club, gobs of homework, a band concert, and a debate tournament.  No matter.  We blocked out one lone Sunday on the calendar and headed to the woods.

Good choice.

Sunrise isn’t until 10 AM this time of year, so we were an hour into our drive before the sun climbed over the Chugach and lit up the steamy inlet.  Magical.


img_0215It was Cold with a capital C when we parked the truck at a trailhead:img_4787

And yes, we do still listen to Raffi’s Christmas Album.  We started this tradition when the kids were little, and somewhere along the way his songs have grown on us.  This year we added the Pentatonix Christmas album to the playlist, but it changed the atmosphere in our truck.  It was as if Sam had invited his first girlfriend along, and she was chatting nonstop in the backseat.  Sure, we might like her fine once we get to know her better, but in this moment she was invading our special family tradition.

(I should clarify that Sam doesn’t have a girlfriend yet.  I’m not sure he even wants one, but he’s almost 13 so it’s probably coming soon.  This how my crazy mind spirals sometimes.)

Fortunately, Clark’s mind was far from crazy this year.  In a pragmatic stroke of pure genius, he took the kids on a tree scouting expedition back in early November.  They scoured the woods before the first major snowfall, when the trees were still fully exposed.  They marked three gorgeous spruce on the GPS so we could easily find our way back.

Welcome to our 2016 moment of “Why the Hell Didn’t We Think of This Years Ago?”

So it was with optimism that we bundled up and hit the trail.  The hike was relatively flat, the trail was well packed, and photos don’t begin to capture the beauty of this day.


Best of all, the favorite tree was still there!

As if this day wasn’t going well enough, Sam and Maggie cut the tree down all by themselves for the first time (Clark appreciated that) and helped haul it halfway back to the truck (I especially appreciated that):


After years of Griswold-esque Christmas tree hunts, we finally got our Norman Rockwell day.

It was Sam’s year to put the star on top of the tree.  Not sure how much longer Clark can lift the kids like this!


Fast forward to Christmas Eve:


Best. Tree. Ever.

Best. Day. Ever.


Oh, and as for that Pentatonix Christmas album?  Turns out we love it.  Merry Christmas!

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