Sunday, December 2, 2012

A great Christmas memory: Christmas Tree Hunting

LSP 2008 304 

 Happy December.

I love December. I love Christmas. For me once December is here - the countdown for Christmas is on. It's a month full of great things. A month of wonderful things to look forward to. A month of celebrations. A month of focusing on friends, family, food, fun, traditions...

I have so many wonderful Christmas memories from my childhood. Many of the traditions that we do now - were things that I did growing up.  I love that my parents made the whole Christmas season so special for us - and that it still means so much to me. And I am so blessed to have created a new family with my love - and he loves Christmas just as much as me.

I wanted to share a funny story of one of our family traditions growing up. I wish that I had pictures of the event - because thinking back - they would have been very good to look back on.

I like to call this story - Christmas Tree Hunting

The cast: My dad, my sister, our dog - Shadow, me and our Bonneyville

Where: Highway outside of Kitimat

Why: It was Christmas and you went out the woods to get your tree - no tree farms in Kitimat

What: Literally - 20 with a windchill probably making it -35. A thermos of hot chocolate and a bag of mixed nuts.

My dad, sister, Shadow and I head out in the two-tone blue Pontiac Bonneville. We are bundled up in warm jackets, toques, scarves, mittens, warm boots. The car is nice and warm. The ground is covered in a beautiful blanket of freshly fallen white snow. The trees are dry - well actually more frozen really. The air is so crisp - and oh so cold. We are tearing down the highway. Sorry, no we're not. My dad is driving at a comfortable 60 km/h. My sister is riding shotgun. I am in the backseat with Shadow. Shadow is excited. She is always excited for a car drive - but she knows that we are going somewhere good. Shadow also knew Christmas. She loved the excitement of it. Seriously!

My dad turns off the highway - probably onto a logging road. Thankfully he knew where to go - so that we wouldn't get stuck in the snow.

We get out of the car. Whimper a bit because it is cold. Instant nostril freeze. If you haven't experienced this - it's not pleasant. We get the saw from the trunk. And we head down the paths trying to spot the perfect tree.

The perfect tree for us was something that was big. Super wide and high enough so that it would hit the ceiling so that we couldn't put our tree topper on.

After 15 minutes, I decide that it is way too cold and that it's time for Shadow and I to head back to the car and warm up with some hot chocolate and mixed nuts. Ok - I have no idea why we had mixed nuts - and why I even remember them, but I do. Shadow and I settle in - pour some warmth and snack on nuts. Are nuts bad for dogs? Shadow didn't think so. She always got treats.

A couple of minutes later - my dad and sister return with the perfect tree. As I watch from inside the cold car - sheltered from the wind - they start strapping the tree to the top of the car with some sturdy rope. They have the windows slightly cracked so that the rope can go through to keep the tree secure. The tree is fastened and my dad tells my sister to get in the car. She tries to open the door - but my dad has tied the rope through so that the door can only be opened 2 inches. She says 'Dad... uh, I can't get in'. My dad looks in frustration and says 'What? You can't squeeze through?'.

At this point, I am finding the entire thing hysterical. My sister is as well. My dad, not so much. Our nicknames, JC and Goddammit, are being used.

My dad unties that part, my sister gets in, and he ties it up again. He gets in and tells me that my job is to hold the ropes, 'TIGHTLY', from the backseat. We head out back onto the highway heading for home.

I am sitting in the backseat full on hot chocolate and mixed nuts. I am holding the ropes tight. And I am singing - which I do often. I am singing 'Paradise by the dashboard lights'. I am not singing quietly - I never do. My sister is just patiently listening and my dad is concentrating on the 60 km/h.

About 4-5 minutes into the trip, I can feel the rope loosening. Loosening ropes = tree falling off the roof.

I say 'Uh dad, the ropes are loosening'. My dad says 'JC - hang on child.' I say 'It's not my fault, they're coming loose'. My dad says 'If you were concentrating and not singing, they wouldn't come loose'. I say 'Uh???'. He is cursing, I am holding on so tight, and I stop singing. Who knows? Maybe singing does make the ropes tying down the tree while driving 60 km/h 'does' make a tree come loose.

He turns into the dump turn off - so that he can pull over and fix the tree. He gets out. He's angry. And he re-ties the tree to the roof. He gets back in the car and we drive off.

Again, I am sitting in the back holding the ropes. My sister and I are laughing uncontrollably. I am mortified at the time because I am worried that if someone saw us pulling out of the dump they will think that is where we got our tree.

We drive home and I cannot stop laughing. We get home, unload the tree and just laugh about the days events. My dad is still saying that if I hadn't been singing that the tree wouldn't have come undone.

The funny thing about my dad, is that he would always spaz - and then laugh about it after. He would say 'JC' and 'Godammit' - but we knew that it wasn't said to be mean - it was the words that he used.

Anyways - the tree went up - and it was perfect - and this is a memory that I will never forget.

I know that as I write this - my dad is looking over my shoulder with Shadow at his side - and he is laughing too.

No new recipes right now - but since it's Christmas - give these a try:

Slow cooker Chicken
Egg Noodle Love 
Blueberry Crisp

I hope that you are all enjoying December - don't stress - take each day at a time and have a cup of hot chocolate and reminisce about your favourite Christmas memories. I would love to hear them.



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