Holiday Traditions

It’s less than two weeks until Christmas, and I’m enjoying every minute of preparation.  The house is decorated with classy, sophisticated and fun decorations and filled with the wonderful smells of the season. Every year my mom and I spend the first few weekends of the month transforming the house into a winter wonderland. We hang the stockings by the fire and search for the perfect Christmas tree. This year we decorated the house a little earlier {the weekend after Thanksgiving} given we were in Maui during our usual decorating weekend {the first weekend in December} and picked out the perfect Christmas tree this past weekend.

 {The stockings were hung by the chimney with care}

Choosing the tree is probably my favorite holiday tradition. I have more memories involving the tree than I do opening presents, which says a lot for a girl who likes gifts! I can remember bundling up in Idaho and heading down to the tree lot to choose the perfect tree. There were even a few years that my family sold Christmas trees as a fundraiser for my elementary school. Now that we live in the beautiful state of Oregon we bundle up, put on our boots and drive to a Christmas tree farm where we hike through the woods to find the perfect tree.

 {The Olson Family Christmas Tree 2011}

For the past five years we have been visiting Ballyntyne Tree Farm in Salem, OR.  It’s a beautiful place to find a tree and only minutes from my parents’ house. They have over 10 acres of trees, warm bonfires and of course hot cider & candy canes. The Kreitzberg family is lovely and always happy to point you in the right direction of the tree you are looking for and help those that need it.

   
{Pictures around the tree farm – top left: my mom and me 10′, bottom left: my uncle Steve 10′, bottom right: Jackie and me 11′.}

I could spend all day searching for the perfect tree so my family has put me on a strict time limit that is probably due to the fact it took me over an hour to find a tree three years ago! The last two years I have found one in under 20 minutes, which is a record for me. After the tree is chosen we take a few photos and my dad chops it down. We carry it back to the car slowly and carefully and make our way back down the windy roads to home for decorations.

   
{Searching for the perfect tree. Top left: 2008, top right: 2009, bottom left: 2010, bottom right: 2011.}

My mom and I turn up the Christmas music, put on the kettle and start stringing lights. After the lights are hung comes the best part. We empty the ornament boxes and I listen to my mom tell the story of each and every ornament. Baby’s first Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, hand stitches snowflakes, and every homemade ornament my mother made for her parents and my sisters and I made for her. This year she stated that even though I have heard the same stories for 24 years she should probably write them down just in case, I don’t blame her I would too.

      
{Christmas trees from 07′ and 08′ – also in picture is my niece Kjirsten with me in front of the tree.}

There’s nothing like the smell of a fresh cut tree in a warm house, especially one who’s base is surrounded with presents for the family and friends. Christmas is the season for giving and even though I love receiving gifts I love giving gifts even more.

     
{Christmas trees from 09′ and 10′.}

Happy Holidays Everyone! What is your favorite holiday tradition?

xox
Em

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