I love the tradition of having a live Christmas tree every year. I love celebrating the beauty of nature by bringing an “ordinary” bit of the outdoors into our home and adorning and admiring it. Sunset magazine just ran a comparison of real vs. fake Christmas trees and I was pleased to see that they determined that you should "go with the real deal if the ritual and environment are your top priorities". That’s us! (They also said go with a fake tree if "you prize convenience and no-mess holidays.")
This year I was especially excited to cut our own Christmas tree for the first time. In Arizona you can buy a permit from the Forest Service and pick out your own tree to bring home. Having gone to a forestry school for graduate school I was also interested to take part in this festive land management activity. My neighbor and partner in holiday enthusiasm, Erica, was also on board. We bought permits after Thanksgiving for a cutting area in the mountains near Payson, AZ.
On Sunday we got an early start and caravanned from our houses; first to Starbucks for festive drinks, obviously, and then into the mountains along the Mogollon Rim.
Every time we drive out of the Phoenix valley I’m impressed. We live in an absolutely beautiful state but I forget this because my day to day is suburbia and the Tempe area. Not that they aren’t pleasant and I do see mountains everyday on my drives but the stands of saguaros, rock formations, mountains and forests just outside of Phoenix will really take your breath away.
Finding our tree took some effort but we found a really cute one. We claimed a pinyon pine and the Ladds found an adorable white fir (thanks to Erica for keeping the species straight, I'm rusty with my tree ID.)
Look at those husband-lumberjacks!
It was such a fun adventure! When we got home we put lights and red bead garland on our tree to start. But then we thought that just leaving it simple seemed fitting so we’ve decided not to do ornaments this year. Isn’t it cute?
With the arrival of the tree we’re in full-on holiday mode at the Wharton house. When we wake up and when we get home from work we turn the tree lights on, light Christmas candles, and turn on the holiday music. Even getting ready for work and cooking dinner can be festive! Welcome Christmas season 2012!