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This Holiday Season I’ll Schedule Time to Notice

Every day I sit at this kitchen table in small light, nothing but a sheet of blackness in the window and I begin making the day’s list of so much to do.  I bet this morning’s list looks a lot like yours: shop, wrap, bake, address Christmas cards, pick up extra bulbs to replace the ones outside on our lawn that won’t light. Attempt to lift and move a fully decorated and lighted tree from a cracked tree stand into a new one.  This last one is giving me a quiet giggle.  It’s just so ridiculous.  How the hell are we going to do this?

Back to my list, I’ve decided to include the word: Joy somewhere on that list so that I will remember to notice the happiness that is always available inside this holiday flurry.  Like waiting patiently for the frosty glitter to settle after you’ve given the snow globe a good shake.  Finally you can see the skaters.

Yesterday, chopping down a Christmas tree — a Canaan Fir — a new type for us, with my husband and children was that moment.  We walked through a forest of trees only to come to the owner’s home on the other side.  Sitting on a weathered wooden box trailer was an old man in a scratchy grey and white beard, wearing a Carhartt – looking winter hat with ear flaps and smoking a stubby hand-rolled cigarette.

We took a much needed break from all the trekking up a ragged hill to find the perfect tree and followed my husband as he walked up to the old man to say hello.

It turns out he was the original owner of the Christmas tree farm.  His only intention when he first started out in the seventies was to grow a couple of trees and sell them at a makeshift roadside stand for $7 a piece in hopes he’d make enough money to buy a new pick-up truck.  Today, forty years later, his son owns the farm, one of the most popular just outside Madison.  My husband asked if he ever got his new pick-up, the seventy-four-year-old smiled and said, “No.”

After telling our kids to do well in school and not to date until they are in their twenties, we were back on our way through the wooded lot where we found our tree.