‘Tis the Season–Full of Firsts

On Thursday, we celebrated our first Thanksgiving ever–just the five of us.  We’d initially planned on celebrating the holiday with Andrew’s side of the family.  But, alas illnesses amongst the kids within two separate family units prompted our staying put.

We introduced our kids to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time ever.  With our older two children being 5 1/2 and 4-years-old, I figured they’d really get a kick out of watching the monstrous floats and balloons gliding past on the tv screen.  And they did.  For a while.  But by the time the zillionth commercial came on, and yet another interview with some apparently well-known soap opera star or former American Idol…idol…was completed, they’d pretty much lost interest.

Fast forward a few hours and we sat down to a table boasting ham, sweet potatoes, my mother’s broccoli-cauliflower casserole and the like…and there we were, gathered around our Thanksgiving table; Andrew and I enjoying our meal, the kid’s barely taking a bite; our youngest slurping vigorously from his Sigg bottle of soy milk as usual.

thanksgiving-dinner

Yesterday, in our traditional refusal to participate in the “tradition” of getting up at 4am to stand in a line full of anxious “Black Friday” shoppers, we drove to the local gas station, purchased a $5 tree cutting permit and headed into the Gallatin National Forest to cut our family’s Christmas tree.  Since moving to Montana 5 1/2 years ago, I’ve always wanted to do this.  Now that our children are (relatively) getting older, it has become more possible than in recent years.

After driving five miles on a snow-covered forest service road, and passing a truck full of men wearing neon orange vests–which reminded us that this is the last weekend of rifle hunting season–we found our spot, donned snow pants, boots, hats and mittens and set off to find our tree.  It didn’t take long, of course, as one would expect when surrounded by thousands of acres of forest.

christmas-tree-cutting

Tree cut and tied to the roof of the car, we headed home–losing one child to sleep on the way.  We will erect the 2008 Hull Family Christmas tree today and, while the decorating and lighting of our tree may not be as ceremonious and magical as the lighting of the tree in New York City, or the National Christmas tree on the Mall in Washington D.C., it will be magnificent enough for us, because celebrating Christmas with three young children is all the magic a parent could hope for.

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5 Comments

Filed under Kids, Living

5 responses to “‘Tis the Season–Full of Firsts

  1. Cheryl Peterson

    Just my opionion but you should consider an artificial tree or one from a tree farm in the future. Taking a tree from the forest is contributing to global deforestation and you probably took some animals home just to wither away in your home and end up in the garbage in January. Now thats wasteful!

  2. lchivers

    The comment from Cheryl is actually quite inacurate. In fact there is more damage done in the creation and eventual disposal of a fake tree. I’m typing this on my phone so I can’t leave a longer reply but would be happy to if this becomes a debate. The short of it is, Cheryl is wrong, enjoy your tree and the memories in finding it.

  3. lchivers ~

    You are absolutely right. In the spirit of trying not to ruin my own nostalgic moment, I chose not to respond to Cheryl’s (fairly typical) inflammatory comment.

    All you have to do is watch The Story of Stuff, which I have mentioned several times now, to understand how the externalities of creating a fake tree are far worse than the “contribution to deforestation” of which Cheryl speaks.

    And, considering I am a member of the Audobon Society, make it a point to plant indigenous plants and trees in our yard, limit the amount of driving I do and energy usage I employ, thereby decreasing my personal carbon footprint…I am not too worried about the global implications of the single tree my family and I cut down this year (which, by the way, we checked carefully for signs of wildlife housing prior to cutting down).

    lchivers, it sounds like you may have some additional info. to add. I would love to hear it.

    Anyone else want to chime in?

  4. We cut down our own tree this last weekend too. I did some research on cutting down xmas trees in the northwest, where the US Forest Service encourages the practice – I quote from an official: “Harvesting wild trees helps the forest…Judicious thinning strengthens strands. You’re taking a tree from the forest, but you’re giving that tree’s neighbor a better chance of survival.” Also, the city of Bozeman recycles Christmas trees for composting (they did over 90,000 lbs. in 2006), so after we enjoy our tree it will not go to waste.

  5. Thank you for filling in a few more informational gaps, Margaret. I hope this helps others still waying costs/benefits of this issue!

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