When I was little, my family went Christmas Tree hunting every year two weeks after Thanksgiving. There were about twenty to twenty-five of us in a caravan of used cars – one shiny, new Cadillac – cruising the backroads to some far away tree farm in Bucks County.
We would all pick our trees after much debate about which one was right (can’t have any bald spots), get them tied to the tops of the cars, and then we’d all go eat at this amazing restaurant right by Peddler’s Village. It was a family tradition since I could remember and it was a tradition that died the same year as my grandmother.
One year, we were at a farm searching for the perfect tree and I spotted something that looked like a clump of hacked up shredded wheat. I poked my face further toward the tree, careful not to get a pine needle in my eyeball and then reached inside. The sappy needles grabbed onto my gloves as the aroma of fresh pine wafted into my nostrils. I finally reached the object and edged it back toward me like it was a rare crystal.
My eyes went wide as my mouth gaped open with joy. It was even better than a rare crystal – it was an abandoned bird nest.
I shouted for my grandmother who came over to see what all the fuss was about.
“Gram! Look what I found. It’s a bird’s nest!”
She gave me a hug and praised me for being so brave to reach into a sappy, stabby pine tree to fetch the beautiful creation left by a beautiful bird. We played ‘guess what kind of bird’ and then determined it to be a robin or maybe a cardinal.
I asked her what I should do with the nest and she told me to bring it with me and so I did. I guarded that thing with my life until we got back to my Gram’s. That nest went in her Christmas tree every year until it fell apart. It must have been at least twenty years.
They were great times back then!
What kind of traditions does your family have?