Just like that, we’re into December and Christmas preparations. I love these brief pauses on Friday with Susanne and friends at Living to Tell the Story to reflect on what God has done in our lives this week.
1. Getting a Christmas tree. So far, we still go out each year to choose a live tree. I think Jason and Mittu have come with us every year since Timothy was little, and maybe before. Past Christmas photos showed one with Timothy bringing his little toy chain saw one year. 🙂
This year Jason arrived first at our usual place only to find an empty lot. So we looked at another place we went last year because it was nearby and run by a local church. We didn’t like the experience, but it was the only other place we knew of.
But their prices were really high and the experience was really nerve-wracking. They had way too many helpers there–we couldn’t take a step without someone asking if we had any questions. No, we just needed to look and see which one we liked, and no sales person could tell us that. Jason heard a guy behind us ask one of the salespeople if anyone was helping us. She said we wanted to just look around. The guy said, “You need to use more force!” Force? For selling Christmas trees? We got out of there as soon as we could. Fortunately, Mittu saw an opening the back way so we didn’t have to run back through the gauntlet of smiling faces asking if we had any questions.
I searched for Christmas tree lots on my Google maps app, and it brought up a tree farm about ten minutes away. So we caravaned over there. It was a delightful little place open for business for the first time (in which case, I am not sure how they showed up at the top of my search results. But I am glad they did). They told us how things were laid out and left us to look around. They had a gift area, and I think they may have had hot drinks. They also had a little picture-taking station.
Their prices weren’t any better than the other place–but the experience was far superior. We may have to break down and get an artificial one before next year.
Then, there was a very old blue truck in the lot with a tree in the back. I thought they had it there just for effect—you see truck with a tree on a lot of Christmas decorations and cards these days. But then an older couple, the man with a long white beard, got into the truck and drove away. The guy tying our tree to our car roof said the older man dresses up as Santa and takes a tree and presents to Cade’s Cove every year. So that was fun.
2. Tree decorating. Even though Jason and Mittu decorate their own house for Christmas, they help decorate ours as well. Jesse came over, too, and was a big help getting boxes down from the attic. For the past few years, Mittu has made lunch for us all on tree decorating day. I’m so thankful they all do this. With everyone pitching in, it only took a couple of hours to get everything up, not counting transporting the bins to and from the attic.
I wasn’t feeling Christmasy until we got the house decorated. Now I am ready to start the holidays.
3. Lunch with Melanie, a dear friend, at Cracker Barrel, one of my favorite places. None of the rest of my family likes Cracker Barrel, so I am glad I can indulge with Melanie. We both had the maple bacon chicken, which was excellent. We had a great waitress who, when she found out Melanie’s birthday was the next day, gave her a free piece of cake. And they let us sit and talk as long as we wanted without kicking us out. 🙂
4. Encouraging words. It’s such a blessing when someone says something that encourages you right where you needed it, when they could not have known that their words were needed. I feel God orchestrates those things. How we need to walk closely with Him so He can use us that way.
5. Timothy recordings. Jason and Mittu were here for another marathon cooking session to make up microwave meals while they are still painting in their kitchen. At one point Timothy started playing some old recordings on their iPad–some of them were him singing when he was about four. So sweet.
I hope your week went well!
i love your family Christmas portrait at the tree farm, Barbara. so much fun!
I can feel the joy in your heart as you describe time with family. 🙂 Have a blessed weekend!
The Christmas Tree farm sounds lovely and it’s so nice they had other activities there. I haven’t had a real tree in years, and I do miss it. We have a really nice artificial one that was my mother’s, so it has a lot of great memories as well! Have a wonderful weekend!
The Christmas tree farm sounds like such a wonderful experience! I’m so glad you found it. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating that Mittu is such a gem. How nice that she gifts you with her cooking and helping hands. It sounds like a fun day, all of you decorating together.
Ah, a business that truly understands customer service and one that thinks “force” is a feature! How nice to find the alternate spot. There are a couple of stores in my area that have a couple of picturesque backgrounds for customers to take a random photo. This helped to while away the boredom back during pandemic times when there was a maximum number of customers allowed and there was a line for entry.
I like that Mittu takes every opportunity to make it easy for you all to be together. What a gem!
You and Melanie and Cracker Barrel = perfection. What a great experience (and great customer service!).
I decorate multiple trees. I have different themes. We do get fresh branch clippings closer to Christmas to make arrangements with. Our kids do remember going to a tree farm to cut fresh trees. All our gone now, as our city has grown so much the past 30 years. Enjoy your decorations!
So glad you finally found good place to get your tree. It’s so great that your family helps you get your decorations set up. Lunch at Cracker Barrel with a good friend sounds wonderful. I hope you have a good weekend.
Wow! High pressure Christmas tree salespeople! I’m glad you finally found your tree and the place you went sounds charming. What fun for you all to get together and decorate!
Yes, lunch is always fun. Cracker Barrel is my favorite as well! The piece of cake for my birthday was very good!
I had an encouraging message on Face Book messenger this morning from someone I least expected. I love it when that happens.
Have a lovely weekend, my friend!
I sure Mittu doesn’t have a job outside the home — she does so much already! I’ve said it before, but she sounds like such a gem. We have always had an artificial tree but I can see the appeal of the pine smell, etc. I have heard live trees are so high this year. My sister said she paid $160 for hers! The photo opp by the place you got yours is so sweet 🙂 I have recordings of my girls talking when they were little. I understand what you mean with Timothy because yes, we forget how they sounded but it is so sweet to hear again!
Your tree will look lovely all season! How sweet that all the family helps you so much.
Mittu is a keeper, for sure! And a good cook, too. Win-win!
Love that photo of you and Timothy at the tree farm.
Happy weekend to you.
Wow that’s a really weird experience you had at the church selling trees! hopefully they don’t “force” the gospel down someone’s throat!! YIKES!
Glad you found a tree and had the help to decorate. It must be so much fun to do it with your handsome grandboy.
I love going to lunch with friends when i’m not working It’s a true blessing and glad you could do that.
How fun to hear timothy sing when he was little.
I hope you have had a nice weekend.
Aww, family is so precious :). It sounds like the church has the gospel all wrong–we should aim to meet people’s felt needs. We live too far from a national forest with good trees for Christmas to go tree hunting anymore (our favorite method of selecting a tree). But we make sure to spend lots of time with family!
That’s too bad about the crazy experience at the first tree lot. I laughed though as I imagined you all sneaking out the back door. Glad you found a much more “relaxed” place to buy your tree. We haven’t had a real tree since the kids were little. One year they had a horrible shipment and a week before Christmas our tree was turning brown and we were scared to turn the lights on in case it lit on fire. We haven’t bought a real tree since. But I miss that real tree smell filling the house. How fun you and Melanie had lunch again. How precious to hear Timothy’s little boy voice singing.