Saturday, December 18, 2010

Flippin' Christmas fun

Love her or hate her, there's one thing I know about Sarah Palin -- she was put on this earth to make me feel like one big wimp. She's also the reason we have a freshly-cut Christmas tree.

You see, each year my family and I go to a local tree farm to cut our own and to take our family photo in the process.
Usually we pile on coats, but get so hot and sweaty from walking the property and taking turns sawing the tree that we take them off. One year, my husband and I left ours on just because we didn't want to carry them. The kids were smart enough to realize it was 65 degrees and left theirs in the truck. I had several people comment that year that they liked our cards, and a few were brave enough to ask, "Why were the kids in short-sleeves?"

More often than not, however, my husband is the one who's not like the others. We have several winter pictures in which he is wearing shorts. It looks like we've photo-shopped him in from Bermuda

But, back to Sarah Palin... My daughter and I watched her reality show for the first time while I did what I do best this time of year -- curl up with a cup of hot chocolate. As Sally on Charlie Brown says, "I'm not made for winter!" even if it is in the South.

So, I enjoyed wrapping up in my snuggie (Yeah, I own one, so what?) and watching Sarah climb mountains, cross ice crevasses, catch salmon amongst the bears, hunt caribou, round up her five kids and get up early to do aerobics, all in the miserable Alaskan weather. I enjoyed it so much that I laughed out loud and turned up the thermostat.

That's when my children remembered our tradition. The problem with traditions is once you start them, you have to continue them forever. Just something to keep in mind, especially when it's snowing, and the wind is whipping and it's freezing, and you have to go cut down a Christmas tree.

"Can't we just go to a lot, pull the truck up and have Dad throw it in the back while I wait inside?" I asked. "I'll let you play Christmas music."

(Growing up, my dad would only let us listen to Christmas songs at noon on Christmas. Now that it starts in October, I'm inclined to agree, though I do allow them a little more time -- say, Christmas Eve.)

"We want to pet the bunnies and feed the ducks and drink hot chocolate and see the waterfall. We want the tree farm," they said.

Had it not been for Sarah Palin's television show, Alaska, I would have insisted that it's too flippin' cold for trees this year, but alas I am competitive enough to at least brave a few flurries.
Fortunately, I did. We soon discovered it was the last day of the season for the tree farm.

"Everyone's already gotten their trees. No one really comes this late," the owner said.

Late? I thought.

Ultimately, not only did we get to pet the bunnies, we cut down a beautiful tree and got it for half-price, proving that the early bird does not always catch the worm.

Oh, and what a family photo! This year's has to be our most memorable. We hiked down Candy Cane Lane to a picturesque waterfall. The kids and I sat on a rock, while my husband positioned the camera to take our picture in 10 seconds. He pushed the button and then hurried to sit down next to our son.

Unfortunately, we didn't leave him enough room, and he missed the rock entirely, and to my children's horror, he tumbled into the water. I would say to my horror, but as the saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this picture, I am staring directly into the camera and laughing harder than I have laughed since the season's changed. Maybe Sarah Palin is right -- sometimes you do need to get outdoors.

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