Thursday, December 18, 2014

Meet Blitzen

I grew up with a fake tree for most of my life. My mom claims we had a real tree for a couple of the early years, but either I was too young to remember, or she's lying. My first Christmas in Colorado is when Mr. B introduced me to my first REAL tree. If you know anything about my love of Christmas, you know the look I had on my face: pure excitement.

Unfortunately, the evergreens are sparse and slim here. Far less full than the evergreens on the east coast. So our first tree wasn't technically local. It had been hauled to Colorado on a milk truck from Wisconsin. Our second and third trees came from the most incredible nursery in Fort Collins. One that invites reindeer and Santa to greet their guests. But yet again, not local. However, last year and this year, we've made it a point to venture in the Colorado forest and cut down our very own. A tradition that will be around for years to come in this household.

Tree cutting day is like a national holiday in my book and one of my favorite events of the entire year.

This year, it fell on Mr. B's birthday and we believe birthday celebrations should be shared with people. So we invited our friends, Sam and Julie to come along with us. Now you have to understand, Sam is probably my Christmas-counterpart-twin. This kid loves Christmas (maybe more than I do) and was like a little kid. He couldn't eat his breakfast fast enough, before he was saying, "Let's go! I have been waiting all week for this." We laugh about his appreciation and giddiness for most anything in life - especially Christmas - but really, it's something we could all do a little more of.
#tackydecor my favorite

We drove nearly 2 hours to the Red Feathers Lake area where we paid "elves" $10 for a tree permit and were handed a map of the "tree lanes" in return. Mr. B knew immediately that he wanted to take his truck as far off road as possible, which meant we were heading to Vixen Way. There were people and families and children and dogs in every direction. Roping trees to the tops of their cars, tossing trees in the beds of their trucks, and others bundled up in anticipation of taking their little piece of the forest home with them.

The sun was shining, the wind was blowing and the men had a field day kicking their trucks into 4-wheel drive and sliding around on the icy lanes. After passing up hundreds of trees, we finally pulled off along side the road on Blitzen Lane and started our trek through the woods. Mr. B found a tree he liked immediately, but I convinced him to keep walking. I am a decisive person, but I like options and wasn't ready to commit to the first one he saw.

Sam and Julie walked a few more feet and soon found the one they wanted. The act of cutting down a tree that has a three inch trunk, is rather easy and takes about 3 minutes (tops). So we snapped a few photos as they yelled "timber" and picked up their tree in one fell swoop.

At that point, I realized, the first tree Mr. B had picked out, really was the winner for the Bores Quarters. However, have you ever tried to backtrack in a forest covered in snow? You get lost. While Sam was tossing their tree in the truck, the rest of us were wandering around for about 10 minutes until we agreed it was time to find another one. My husband was quick to point out a new tree and when Julie and I looked at it, we said, "Um, that's the original tree you picked!" I suppose it really was meant to be in our house this season. How did we know it was the original selection? Because the trunk was just slightly crooked at the bottom and was the first thing he pointed out when he saw it the first time.

As we headed back to load up our tree, we decided to add a new tradition to this festive day. Champagne. There was a lot to celebrate that day, aside from the trees. Julie had celebrated her birthday just a few days before and Sam asked her to be his wife as a birthday present. Cue the awes. And of course it was Mr. B's birthday. So we popped a bottle of bubbly and toasted with plastic cups in the middle of the woods. It was exactly the way friends should celebrate milestones like these.

We continued the celebration at a local bar near by and then finished at Sam and Julies with a glass of spiked eggnog. What was supposed to be one glass, turned into a near bottle of whiskey instead (for the boys).

My husband does not remember the evening of his birthday very well, but I sure do. I will spare you the details, except for one. I carried the tree in the house (back and forth from outside to inside three different times) until I got the height just right. It was my first time using a hand saw by myself and I felt a bit of empowerment. Not to mention, a bit of resentment because Mr. B was sound asleep on the couch while I drug a 9 foot tree around our house. Eventually he arose from his slumber and said, "Oh my, how did the tree end up inside and in the stand?" My reply, "The elves! Who the heck do you think brought it in?" Only I may have used a few other choice words ;)

I suppose these are the joys of mixing alcohol with Christmas tree day. Maybe I need to rethink that new champagne tradition.

Two days later we strung the lights and decided to wait for my mom and brother before decking her halls. Twinkly lights and ornaments make anything look good, even if it is a sparse Colorado tree. I introduce our 2014 Christmas Tree - Blitzen:
 

Thanks for joining us, soon-to-be Gillis'!

To read about earlier trees: Meet Forest | Meet Nordman Fir

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