Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Family Tradition

(Photo by me, Tasha)

I’d like to share with you one of my family’s traditions. When my family and I came to live in Wyoming in 1994, we started a family tradition with my sister and her family, which we still practice today. Every first Saturday of December, we go up to the mountains to hunt for that Perfect Christmas Tree. Perfect has a very relative meaning in this subject. The mountain-harvested Christmas trees do not look like the tree farm bought trees that have a perfect, robust, and green appearance. The perfect mountain-harvested Christmas tree is something the tree farm owner would discard in the landfill. Unfit for the market! You know that saying, “A face only a mother could love,” right? Well, it applies in this situation also, especially that we’ve worked hard to find it and bring it home.

We may never have a perfect tree farm bought Christmas tree, but we’d never give up our tradition for one, either. We treasure our tradition because it gives our families another reason to get together, go up to the mountains, and enjoy a fun-filled day. First, we gather at my sister’s house and then leave when everybody’s present and accounted for. Laramie is only 45 minutes drive from Cheyenne, but it never fails that we stop at this fishing tackle store there, just off I-80, before heading up into the mountains. I suppose it’s a part of the tradition, too. It wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t stop.

On our drive, the kids are talking through the two-way radios. When the kids were little, there were just two vehicles and two 2-way radios. This year, there were four vehicles, so there were four 2-way radios. We make jokes and make comments about anything and just have fun using the radios along the way.

Once in the mountains, we park our vehicles alongside the narrow road. (You don’t want to go too far to the side or your truck drops off into the snow drift-covered ditch and you get stuck in the snow—four wheel drive and all.)

Hubby's vehicle still didn't get washed from his bison hunting trips.

For all the years we’ve been going up there, we always park and walk into the same area. We’re traditionalists, I suppose. We routinely see snowmobiles whizzing up and down the sides of the roads. One of these days, we’ll join them. We’ve been telling ourselves that—year after year, but still haven’t gotten around to doing it. Maybe next year. Yeah, right.

We put our snow boots and snow shoes on. (Hubby usually helps me put mine on.)

Off we go. Many times we’re the first humans to walk through the virgin snow. We see deer and rabbit tracks, but that’s about it. We’ve been up there in different weather conditions—pleasant to bitter cold, snow falling and/or blowing, white-out or blizzard, cloudy and sunny. This year, it was a gorgeous, sunny day. My family and I walk all over, stopping occasionally to take pictures and to critique each potential candidate until we find our perfect Christmas tree. Once we make our choice, we cut it down and then drag it to the truck, huffing and puffing.Hubby and his saw.

My brother-in-law usually brings a pot of his favorite chili recipe, which he heats up on his camping stove. My sister boils some water to make hot chocolate. I then bring out the shredded cheese, Chili-Cheese Fritos, and some desserts from our vehicle. We sit in camping chairs that my brother-in-law carries in his truck all year round, while the kids go sledding.

This year, one of my nieces towed the others up the road while they rode the toboggan that was tied to the back of her truck. Once up on the summit, they’d untie the toboggan and, then, off they’d go down the slope. They’d repeat the same maneuver until lunch is ready. Of course, it’d take forever to get them over to eat. There’s just something magical about eating piping-hot chili and drinking hot chocolate out in the cold outdoors. They taste heavenly. When the kids are done eating, they’d go back sledding until we’re packed and ready to head home.
This is our Perfect Christmas Tree after hubby decorated it with glass ornaments, white lights, and gold and silver balls.

Because Gabe gets into everything now, we hardly put Christmas decorations out, especially the breakable ones. We still put a few out that are not breakable.

Our Son and his son, Gabe.This is Gabe, smiling at you.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you share some of your family traditions, as well.

I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to you, my friends, for not having visited your blogs lately. The past two weeks have been so hectic, meeting friends for breakfast or lunch, attending parties, going shopping, Christmas decorating, and just meeting everyday life’s demands and responsibilities. Don’t think one minute that I’ve forgotten about you; I have just been very busy. And it looks like it will be this way at least until after the second week of January. By then, I’ll have put on another 20 pounds. I’ll be Mrs. Pillsbury Dough Boy, for sure.

In closing, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous New Year!

With Love,


redchair said...

Hi Miss Tasha,
Wonderful tradition. I want to be a member of your family!!!!
And cute hubby and hands down most darling grandson.

Have a wonderful Christmas my dear friend.

tashabud said...

Hi Vikki,
What do you mean? You're already a family member, sis! I'm glad you like our tradition. Thanks also for that nice word for hubby.

Thanks for visiting and reading.


Eric S. said...

I love your tradition. I think I told you once about one of my brother and Is adventures during our Christmas tree hunt. I think I may just have to write a post about it, LOL.

We always went tree hunting with Dad, and sledding or tubing afterward. The food of the holiday seasons is always the best. But I suffer for it, LOL. I have never had to worry about weight, but now days, my body is not happy with me when I over-eat.

Lilly's Life said...

Tasha, that was a great post. And the tree is perfect and amazingly I only ever decorate mine in gold, silver, white and plain lights (never any colour)too. Great to see pics of your handsome husband and baby grandson too! How cute is Gabe - those long eyelashes and all. I love traditions and I will do a post over the next couple of days as to what we do. Have a great Christmas and New Year and like you I will be 20lbs heavier too - all this food....

Eric S. said...

I have to tell you, Your story inspired me. I wrote a post, and sent it to Judy over at Zany Life + Crazy Faith. She will be posting it tomorrow as my first Guest post. And guess what, there's a link to your blog in it.

tashabud said...

Hi Eric,
Thank you. I love family traditions. So, I'm glad that we made one of our own. We really do have fun up there. I know how much you love the mountains. I'm sure it is hard for you not being close to them, I could sense it from reading your posts.

I do remember you commenting about your tree hunting at my novel blog--The Perfect Christmas Tree.

You're lucky in that you have no problem with weight. I, on the other hand, is constantly fighting it. I'm just too short. If I were six inches taller, perhaps, I wouldn't have any problems. LOL.

I'm glad to be of an inspiration to your guest post. I shall go and read it. I'm hoping to be able to visit more of you tonight, as well.

Merry Christmas,

tashabud said...

Hi Lilly,
You're not a Capricorn, are you? Hubby is, and for some reason he likes plain colors for the tree. We'll probably have the same color year after year if I'd let him. Hehe. Personally, I like the multi colored lights and balls.

Thanks for the compliment for my hubby and grandson. Gabe sure has those long eyelashes. The males in my family side have those long eyelashes, but for some reason, we females are not so blessed. So unfair.

I shall come over to read your food-related post you had mentioned, and of course, all of your latest posts.

About the weight, at least you're tall, that extra weight will not be too visible. I just need to be six inches taller, then I shouldn't have any problem. LOL.

Merry Christmas,

VH said...

Gabe is sooo cute! Great pictures too. Wow! So much snow. Man, I can't remember the last time I was around so much's been years.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your wonderful family:)


Lover Boy and Girl said...

Wow, that must be a fun-filled bonding experience with your family. Your son Gabe is so lovely.

You definitely have a beautiful family over there.

Have a great day!

Tina said...

i have some awards for you mate!

attygnorris said...

Great story and photos! I really don't like to be near snow, but it's really pretty to look at from afar.

Thanks for visiting my blog, leaving a comment, and adding a link. I will add you to my blog roll, as well.

Happy Holidays!


Shari Schmidt said...

I love the tree. Our tradition is eating a casual meal (deep dish pizza) on Christmas Eve. We put out the fancy china, the good table cloth and just relax before THE BIG DAY.

tashabud said...

Hi Will,
Thanks for the compliment for my grandson. He's so cute as long as he's behaving himself. Unfortunately, he's starting to go into his terrible two's phase now.

Merry Christmas to you and your family as well.


tashabud said...

Thanks Tina. I'll be over there soon.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


LarryG said...

that is really wonderful!
thanks for sharing your family and
Merry Christmas.


What great pictures and such a lovely tradition that everyone participates in!!

Matt said...

Tasha, I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Petula said...

I love your post and the pictures are perfect. It sounds like you have so much fun and that's great especially when you get together with family. Your tree is beautiful... oh and so is Gabe. He's a heartbreaker. :D

We have a tradition of buying an ornament for the current year that may or may not be relevant to what's going on like new baby or something like that. That's nothing compared to the wonder, excitement and fun of your tradition. Oh, and my teenager gets all of her favorte travel items in her stocking to carry in her purse, and there's always something unexpected or that she's been eyeing.

Merry Christmas and I'm glad you're having a busy and fun holiday.

Tina said...

its great to have tradition like that.

merry xmas to you mate

tashabud said...

Hello Davida,
I like snow, but just not too much. There's more snow up in the mountains than down here in town, so, it's okay. It really is nice to have some snow as long as it doesn't stay for longer than a week at a time.

Thank you for reading and commenting. And you're welcome for the link.


tashabud said...

@ Hello Shari,
Thanks for the compliment about our tree.

I like your tradition also. As long as it's a tradition, I'm all for it. Your children will have something to continue doing when they have their own families.

@ Hi Lover Boy and Girl,
Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you were able to stop by. I hope you come by again.

@ Hi LarryG,
I'm glad you stopped by. It is my great joy to share some of my family's stories with friends and I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. Thank you.

@ Hello Heidi,
You are so right. It sure is a great tradition that everyone can participate in. Thanks again for visiting.

@ Hi Matt,
Thanks for the best wishes. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas celebration as well.

@ Hi Petula,
Long time no-see! So good to see you here again. I'm glad you enjoyed this post and the pictures. Thanks for your compliment for Gabe. I go gaga over him each time I see him, which is quite often. Heehee.

Your tradition sounds good too. In fact, we used to do that also until our kids turned eithteen.

@ Hi Tina,
Thanks again for coming back to read and comment.

Thanks again to each and everyone for visiting, reading, and commenting. I hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas celebration. I wish all of you a happy and prosperous New Year.


Roy said...

wow! can you really just choose any tree and cut it down?

the finished Christmas Tree looks lovely.

tashabud said...

Hi Roy,
Yes, pretty much like that. Except that we only cut down how many tree tags we've bought. We buy our tree tags from the local office of The Bureau of Land Management. It's only $10.00 per tree. Also, we're not allowed to cut a certain distance from the roads.

Thanks for the compliment for our tree.

Happy New Year!

tashabud said...

Hi Roy,
Yes, pretty much like that. Except that we only cut down how many tree tags we've bought. We buy our tree tags from the local office of The Bureau of Land Management. It's only $10.00 per tree. Also, we're not allowed to cut a certain distance from the roads.

Thanks for the compliment for our tree.

Happy New Year!

Jena Isle said...

WOW Tasha, I was smiling and felt so happy reading this. What a wonderful christmas tradition. And you've got everyone out there enjoying. I almost wish I would experience it dreams...Most probably, I can't stand the cold. Here, just the ordinary, eat midnight meal, and that's it.

But on New year's it would be a reunion with the hubby and the kids. I hope nothing goes wrong.

I'm glad you've enjoyed your Christmas and such a perfect Christmas tree indeed. Gabe is soooo adorable and hubby, well, looks like Sean Happy new year in advance.

tashabud said...

Hi Jena,
I'm glad you enjoyed reading this post. I wish you could someday come to visit us. That would be very nice. Just wait. Whenever I become a famous writer, I'll fly you in here. What do you think? Here I am again, daydreaming, huh? But, it doesn't hurt to dream, right? Hee, hee.

I'm glad you'll be having a family reunion. I hope it goes well, too, for your sake. Let me know later how it went. Enquiry mind wants to know. LOL.

Sean Connery, eh? I'll make sure to let him know that. I'm sure he'll get a kick out of it. Thanks for your compliments for hubby and for Gabe.

Happy New Year!

siteseer said...

I think your tree is BEAUTIFUL! What a wonderful tradition and you're right eating in the fresh outdoors makes everything better. Don't feel bad about being busy...everyone is. I haven't even given a thought to my blog and work is extremely busy too. Like you say...after the first couple weeks in January everything will settle down. And the eating...OMG somebody stop me!

tashabud said...

Hi Siteseer,
Thanks for your compliment. I suppose the tree turned out pretty decent after all.

Yes, the eating has to stop sometime soon, eh? I truly feel like a blimp right now.

Thanks for visiting and happy New Year to you.


Sketch said...

what a wonderful family tradition. It doesn't matter what the tree looks like once the decorations are on, but the smell of a fresh tree - wonderful. Hope you have a healthy and happy New Year

tashabud said...

Hi Sketch,
So good of you to stop by. I'm glad you like our tradition. I agree, the tree looks "purty" nice after it was all dcorated. And yes indeed, the smell of fresh cut tree is something to savor.

Happy New Year! I hope you come back again.


Linda S. Socha said...

Loved this post....I have always wanted to visit Wyoming...starting when I was about in the fifth grade..Now I feel as if I at least made a quick virtual trip!. Thanks for the post.

If you are out and about stop by and say hello. I am interested in
linking and following blogs. Hope to see you at Psyche Connections

tashabud said...

Hi Linda,
Thanks for visiting and commenting. I'm glad that this post is able to satiate some of your longing to see Wyoming.

I'll be over to check out your blog.


geetha said...

I love this post... what a good family..!

tashabud said...

Thank you Geetha. I'm glad you liked the post. Hope to see you here again?


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