Happy December 1, Happy First Day of Advent, and Happy Countdown to Christmas!
Being the non-practicing any religion person that I am, Advent, to me, means chocolate calendars that countdown to Christmas. Chocolate isn’t required, it could mean a construction paper ring chain counting down the days. Western Christians observe Advent as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The Nativity Fast, a period of abstinence and penance from November 15 through December 24practiced by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, in preparation for the Nativity of Christ. My 23 days of detox and Thanksgiving deliciousness were definitely not aligned with the Nativity Fast. Like I said, I’m a chocolate calendar, construction paper ring chain kinda gal.
Typical of our house, we are counting down the days. Our boys know they have 15 days of school before Winter Break, 24 days until Christmas, and 30 days until the end of the year, and 32 days until their sister moves to Spokane. Western or Eastern Christian, or not religious at all, countdowns are on. Advent-ageious, one and all.
For our family, Christmas isn’t about the day, it is about the season. Giving, receiving, experiencing the full effect of the holiday. Yesterday we joined two families and caravanned north to Camden Ranch in Elk, WA to cut down our own Christmas Tree. The weather was cold and foggy but the scenery was glorious.
We were instructed to hike up into the hills and surrounding area and find your perfect tree. Take a hand saw, cut down the tree and carry it down the hill. The tree is tagged and loaded into a truck and driven back to the main barn at the ranch. We follow on a hay ride. The tree is condensed into a mesh bag and muscled onto the top of your vehicle. We laughed and contemplated and hiked and shivered until we found our beautiful tree.
Our 8-year old insisted he would cut down the tree and managed about a 1/2″ cut into the trunk before his arm gave out and the others got a turn. Eventually, TIMMMM-BERRRR, the tree fell over.
This tree was no featherweight. It took 5 of us to carry it down with our 8-year old leading the way, pointing out slippery slopes yet maintaining far enough of a lead not lend any muscle.
We sipped on hot apple cider while waiting for our tree to be bagged and loaded. The sun was setting as we drove home, naturally spotlighting three cotton-tailed deer bounding through the meadow.
My husband is very scroogy, bah humbug when it comes to most holiday traditions. Yet the entire drive home he commented how much he enjoyed this excursion to get our Christmas tree. He enjoyed it so much he suggested we should plan to go to Camden Ranch every year. Who is this guy having Christmas fun and setting tradition? He even tolerated listening to hours of Christmas music to and from Camden Ranch. Whoever he is, wherever he’s been, I like this new Spokane guy!
Today, for our first day of Advent, we put away our fall and Thanksgiving decorations and hauled out the Christmas boxes. Our tree is massive, standing at 9’3″ but fits beautifully in our living room.
No lights or decorations yet and I realized tonight that the two uncarved pumpkins are still out on the porch. Slight holiday overlap but we’re getting into the holiday spirit, one day at a time.