Monday, December 7, 2009

A Christmas Gathering

So, last week I decided that we should get our tree over the weekend...Sunday, to be exact, since I was on call Saturday. And then I thought that it would be fun to invite my fellow residents and their families over for a tree-trimming party.

Which is how we found ourselves zooming off toward the Christmas tree farm, half an hour away, exactly one hour and twenty minutes before the start of said party. Oops! May have cut things just a little too close there.

Despite being in a rush, it was a beautiful drive. It snowed on Saturday night, and the trees were still decorated with a layer of white frosting. We went through a state forest and up, up, up to the peak of a hill with spectacular views of the surrounding terrain. Then we jumped out of the car, strapped Brynna into her carrier, and set off into the fields with...oh...just about fifteen minutes to find the perfect tree!

There was a collection of already-cut trees leaning against a fence, and one of the farm workers told us that since we were looking for a 7 or 8-footer, we'd probably have more luck with one of those. But we hadn't driven all that way to pick up an already-cut tree, even if that would be a bit faster! So we took our saw and headed down the hill in the snow. The worker was right...there were many small trees, and many very tall trees, but not much in our ideal range.

So we huffed our way back up the hill, feeling very pressed for time, and resigned ourselves to taking one of the pre-cut trees. Then, just as we crested the hill, we realized that there was quite an attractive tree growing right next to the path! We circled it several times, squinting at it from various angles, before deciding that it was indeed a winner.

Alex the mountain man:

I was so impressed...I got all set to help Alex drag the tree up to the car, and he just picked it up and wandered off!

While Alex and a couple of the farm guys got the tree onto the roof of the car, Brynna and I took a look at the available wreaths. We settled on two basic ones, added two big red bows from another pile, and then we all buckled ourselves back into the car and zoomed back down the mountain, racing the clock so as not to be late for our own party!

Luckily, no one showed up at 4:30, as we arrived home at 4:34. Brynna and I went into the house to do some final tidying up (known in other cultures as "moving piles of stuff into rooms that are not going to be holding guests") while Alex wrangled the tree into the stand out on the porch. We did put our first guests to work chopping up veggies, and the hot cider wasn't quite hot until a few more folks had arrived, but no one seemed to mind.

Since I had only given people a few days' notice, we had no idea how many guests we would have. I originally scattered our food, with some in the kitchen and some in the living room. However, we turned out to have a large kiddie turnout, so the living room floor became the center of the action!

It was such a delight to watch all the kids playing together! Brynna was actually the second youngest, and she did a great job. She shared all her toys, including her wooden blocks...though she did run over and sit on her little ladybug chair a few times when it seemed like one of the other little girls had some interest in it.

And, yes, that is Jasper in the middle of the action! We could hardly believe our eyes. We were sure that we'd eventually have to put him upstairs, but after a little initial barking and lots of hiding under the table, he ventured out to explore the world of toddler-and-dog-level-food, and ended up quite happily receiving pats from the guests, particularly the kids. Never in a million years, even last Christmas, would I have thought that Jasper would be brave enough to do that!

With the help of some extra hands, we also got the tree decorated! We have a mixture of white lights and colored lights, because that's what I could find in the boxes. We put all the soft and unbreakable ornaments at the bottom, and Brynna has been having a blast playing with them.

All in all, a lovely time. We're looking forward to our first New Hampshire Christmas!


Kate said...

I see some ornaments that look familiar! but you need a tree topper :)

Allyson Wendt said...

Isn't it amazing to watch dogs come out of their shells? Zoe's surprised us a couple of times like that, too. She's quite the party hound now. Looks like a really fun time, and the tree is beautiful!