Tag Archives: christmas tree

Memories of Christmas Trees Past

I don’t know where my family got their Christmas trees when when I was very young, but once I was a teenager — and possibly earlier — my mom and dad used to bundle my brother and me up and take us to a Christmas tree lot run by their friend. We’d arrive after dark and the owner would usher us into his heated shack where we’d sit on wool blanket lined benches in the welcome heat. The owner would pour my parents cups of Glögg. I don’t remember if my brother and I were offered any refreshment. I’d like to think we were offered hot chocolate or eggnog, but I suspect not. After a few drinks we’d head out and find a tree which the owner would sell to my dad at a reduced “friends and family” rate.

I spent one Christmas in England and Jeremy and I brought the Christmas tree home on a bus. I clearly remember sitting on the bus, holding our tree close to us (granted it was tiny, compared to the trees I was used to) while other riders did the same.

I don’t remember where Dean and I purchased our Christmas trees before we had kids, but once they could walk we began our “over the river and through the woods” trek to cut down a tree in Virginia. We’d do this every year on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend and stop in Leesburg, Virginia for lunch before we got the tree.

This year we didn’t go to Virginia to get a tree Thanksgiving weekend. We talked about it but none of us were interested in making the trip. Clare had to go back to college on Sunday, so Sunday was not an option. I think I had a lot of work to do, so wanted to work on Saturday. We talked about doing it on Friday, but it didn’t happen.

So yesterday Dean and I drove up to Home Depot in Rockville and picked out a Balsam Fir (my favorite that we could never get at a cut-your-own lot) in 4 minutes. While I paid for the tree Dean brought the car close to the tree area and he and a Home Depot employee proceeded to Saran wrapped it to the top of the car. Not what we were used to, but we now have an incredible smelling tree in our living room.

Over the river and through the woods

to cut ourselves a tree…

We did it again — we took our almost annual trip to Loudoun County to cut down our Christmas tree. We’ve been doing this since the kids were quite small — Clare might have been 6 when we started.

This is the last year we’ll go to Jacobson’s Tree Farm though — suburbia is moving in. Next year there will probably be McMansions where the trees used to be. Loudoun County is one of the fastest growing counties in the DC Metro area. People who want to live in the country, yet be close to DC are buying up the land and building homes there. (And according to Wikipedia, it is the wealthiest county in the country.)

But this post is not about suburban sprawl. It’s about our annual trip to cut down a Christmas tree.

The Jubal Early @ White's FerryWe ate a delicious breakfast of Dutch Babies (weird name for a baked pancake sort of thing — very reminiscent of a Yorkshire pudding). Then piled in the Highlander for our trip to Virginia. The weather didn’t cooperate. It was chilly and rainy. We would have preferred snow, of course, but it didn’t happen.

Sure, Virginia is a short distance away via bridges and interstates, but we go the long way. The way that involves a ferry, country roads and wooded scenery. We cheated this time and drove up 270 instead of going on River Road where it actually does follow the river. We got off 270 in Gaithersburg and drove along Rt. 28 until we found White’s Ferry Road then took the ferry to Virginia, then drove to the tree farm.

Our Tree When we first began getting our trees from Jacobson’s the farm was covered in a forest of pine and fir trees. It was hard to choose trees, because they were so plentiful. The area was so big that the owners brought wagons pulled by tractors to patrons when they’d chosen their trees. Now there might have been 100 trees left in three spots. Two were a bit of a walk, but one was pretty close to the parking lot. We headed there first, not because of its proximity, but because I prefer Canaan Firs for my Christmas tree. We found one right away, Dean unceremoniously cut it down (we forgot to thank it for giving its life so we could put presents under it). Dean and Andrew carried it to the shed where it was vibrated (to help it shed loose needles) and tied up in string. Then Andrew and Dean tied it to the top of the Highlander while Clare and I went into the shed to warm up.

DSCF3455Being a rainy day early in the season, there were few people at the tree farm. The owners said they’d be up and running at a different location in a couple of years. We gave them our email address so they could tell us when they were ready for business.

On the way to Leesburg for lunch we stopped at the Old Lucketts Store to look through their 3 floors of antiques. On the top floor I met a man who told me that the store was allegedly haunted. It didn’t surprise me — I felt a chill when entering one of the rooms on the third floor, but that might have been because it was full of previously owned clothes worn by creepy mannequins. Clare and Dean tried on coats, but neither worked out.

Leesburg Restaurant We then drove to Leesburg and parked in front of the Leesburg Restaurant — another part of the tradition. Leesburg Restaurant is a dining establishment that’s been around since 1865, according to their sign. The inside of the restaurant is a throwback to a more innocent time — and very art deco-y

After eating a cholesterol filled meal we walked to another antique store up the road where we browsed the basement for bargains. Clare found a few things, but the rest of us just looked.

Return Trip Ticket White's Ferry Then we drove back home, taking the ferry again — but taking lesser roads than we took to get to Virginia.

Dean set the tree up and we got out our decorations. As mentioned in another post, the lights didn’t work, so the tree stood naked for a day. I bought lights the next day and Clare put them on the tree. That’s as far as we’ve gotten. Maybe we’ll decorate it tonight.

The Tree at Home

Naked Tree

There is a naked Christmas tree sitting in our living room. Buck naked. Not even a string of lights to hide its prickly bits. I’d post a picture, but my blog might be considered to have mature content if I did. So use your imagination.

Normally by this time on the Sunday after Thanksgiving the tree would at least have lights. Instead of stringing lights and hanging ornaments, I’m sitting on the sofa with a notebook computer on my lap and a glass of wine at my side.

Besides a naked tree, the room also boasts boxes and boxes and boxes of Christmas paraphanalia. We started puting the decorations around the house, but there’s a Steeler’s game on — the guys are watching that. Clare’s in the middle of a good book. And I have my wine.

Tomorrow is another day.