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The joy of getting the perfect Christmas tree

Getting a live Christmas tree is an annual highlight of the season for my family. Some people say that finding the perfect tree can be frustrating and stressful. I disagree. For us, it typically goes something like this...
In early December, when the Thanksgiving decorations are neatly wrapped and put away and my family and I are relaxing with a cup of hot cocoa, the conversation inevitably turns to Christmas, specifically the tree.
One of the children politely asks (in a faint British accent), "Father, is it nearing time for us to get our Christmas tree?" "Of course, darling," I reply.
"Oh, how I can't wait to build such fond family memories!" my wife exclaims, flashing a bright smile.
"That settles it," I say. "We'll go to the tree farm on Sunday!" 
After a peaceful morning at church, we return home, still talking joyously about all the things we've learned.
"Don't forget, we're going to get our Christmas tree today!" I shout to the kids. "I'd like to leave soon, if we can."
"We'll be ready if five minutes!" they reply, almost in unison.
Four minutes later, everyone is bundled in warm clothing and we climb into the truck and drive away.
"This year's tree is going to be perfect! Just like last year," says the youngest.
As we go, we share our fondest memories of last year's Christmas.
"Isn't it beautiful!" says my wife as we pull in to the farm. A light dusting of snow covers the acres of deep green pines as well as the ground.
No sooner do we step out of the truck and the horse-drawn wagon stops, offering us a ride. "We're looking for the perfect tree." I mention.
"I know just the spot," the driver replies, as he stirs his team to action. We smile and enjoy the rhythmic "clip-clop" of the horses and the soft sound of bells jingling.
"These trees do look nice," I say as we step down off of the wagon.
One of the children speaks up. "You know, even though it's below freezing and there is a stiff north wind, the warmth that I get in my heart from this occasion, makes it all worthwhile."
"Agreed!" we reply and we work our way through a few rows, admiring the beauty of God's coniferous creation.
"Here it is!" the middle child shouts. "I've found it!" We quickly gather around the tree she's selected.
"That looks great!" I exclaim. "What do you think everyone?"
"Let's get it!"
In just a few minutes that ideal pine is cut and loaded on the wagon. Giddy from the excitement, I start humming, "O' Christmas Tree" on the ride back. My wife and kids join in, singing in four-part harmony. Before long, our fine tree is shaken, wrapped and loaded in the truck for its short journey home.

Dinner is almost ready and the sound of music and laughter fills our home. We sip hot apple cider while hanging lights, ribbon and ornaments on the tree's branches.
"You should put the star on the tree this year," says one child. "No, I know that you really enjoy it. I can do it next year," says another.
The kids work together to place the handcrafted star gently on the top to finish it off. Arm in arm, we all stand back and admire its beauty.
With joy in our hearts and smiles on our faces, we look at each other and say (yes, you guessed it), "It's perfect!" 
... or, at least that's how I like to remember it going.

What is it like when your family goes hunting for the perfect Christmas tree?

[Hat tip to my friend Kevin for inspiring this post]



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